General Electric Company Latino Night celebrates diversity

Salsa dancing is a form of entertainment, but this summer, it’s also a way for General Electric Company to give back to the local community.

On Saturday, July 27 the G.E. Hispanic Forum held its third annual Latino Night at Mason High School.

The variety of themes at every Latino Night — such as Latin American traditional music and Brazilian Carnival — are something that attendees like Vicky Gomez look forward to every year.

“They each have a different theme, so it’s entertaining to see them progress every year,” Gomez said.

This year’s Latino Night theme was salsa.

Along with professional salsa dancers teaching the crowd to dance, the beginning portion of Latino Night included Latino music, dinner from Hispanic restaurants, and kids’ activities like face-painting, musical chairs, and maracas. The rest of the evening included a show with live performances from Latino bands and dance academies.

According to G.E. Cincinnati Hispanic Forum hub leader Alejandro Mayoral, the main purpose of Latino Night is to give back to the community and promote diversity.

“It’s all for the intangible benefit,” Mayoral said. “We want to have [a] big impact, [through] grassroots events and activities, where we can give back to the community.”

Mayoral said that G.E. doesn’t gain any profits from the event.

“The only thing we get out of doing this is the satisfaction in terms of how the event ends up turning out…and the opportunity to…create awareness of the culture,” Mayoral said.

Mayoral said that along with the Hispanic Forum’s other philanthropic efforts like tutoring school kids, mentoring students, volunteering at science fairs and giving to food drives, G.E. was enthusiastic about hosting Latino Night.

“[G.E.] essentially know[s] that this is important for the community, for the employees, for the families,” Mayoral said. “When they heard about the idea of us organizing this event, there was no pushback at all. They said ‘go with it, and go big.’”

Latino Night is completely volunteer-run, Mayoral said. About 25 volunteers are involved in the planning, which began four months ago, and about 60 came to help on the day of the event.

“Everyone is doing this above and beyond [their daytime jobs],” Mayoral said.

According to Mayoral, Latino Night brings in a crowd turnout of 600 to 800 people each year.

This year’s crowd included Martina Fernandez, who said she enjoyed her experience at Latino Night.

“I think it’s a lot of fun. It’s good…to get together with the Latino community…and get to spend time together, meet new people, and talk,” Fernandez said.

Although the night is about promoting the Latino culture and community involvement, it’s also about having fun, according to Mayoral.

“People don’t really need to know how to dance salsa,” Mayoral said. “They’re [going to] go ahead and see the show, see the event and have a good time.”

According to G.E. Aviation Vice President of Human Relations Ernest Marshall, along with entertainment, Latino Night paints a bigger picture of celebrating diversity.

“Through the power of diversity comes change — comes positive change. It helps us in our business. It helps us in our relationships with one another,” Marshall said. “So it’s very important for all of us at General Electric Company to celebrate the power of diversity throughout the entire world.”

*See pictures of the event by Katherine Hansen at: http://thecspn.com/?p=16854

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