In photos: Nuestro Centro celebrates Latino culture at Emma Elementary

Students from Emma Elementary prepare to perform a traditional Mexican dance for their fellow students as part of the school’s Cultural Day. (Carrie Eidson/ Mountain Xpress)

Last Thursday, March 20, students and parents from Emma Elementary school gathered in the school’s auditorium to watch some of their fellow students perform a traditional Mexican dance from the state of Veracruz.

The program, part of the school’s Cultural Day, was organized by Nuestro Centro, a Latino community center based in Emma. Mirian Porras, program consultant for Nuestro Centro, began the program last August as a way to share the cultural heritage of the Latino students with the rest of the school.

“These dances are our inheritance from our grandparents and our ancestors, and we want to share this inheritance of which we are so proud with you,” Porras told Emma Elementary students in a presentation preceding the dance.  “We are formed into positive human beings each and every day by both this identity as well as our identity from the United States.”

Porras says that she hopes the program will become a model for other Asheville area schools, showcasing other immigrant and minority cultures.

“We want to emphasize all of the positive things that the immigrant community can bring into Asheville,” Porras wrote in an email to Xpress. “This is where the folkloric dance comes in — in promoting the integration of the immigrant community with all of the rest of the community.”

Nuestro Centro’s organizers say the center was founded on the principle of helping people affected by racism, classism, homophobia, sexism and unjust and corrupt economic policies and political systems, including undocumented immigrants.

“When we talk about community issues, we try to do it with a lens of roots causes,” wrote volunteer Jackie Fitzgerald. “We do things based on those values, regardless of how we are perceived by other entities or communities.”

To learn more about Nuestro Centro, including English as a Second Language classes, connections to community services, language interpreters and their Defensa Comunitaria, which helps workers to understand their rights and provides assistance with recovering stolen wages or filing sexual harassment or racial profiling complaints, visit

Scroll through the slideshow to see more photos of the performance at Emma Elementary’s Cultural Day.


Thanks for reading through to the end…

We share your inclination to get the whole story. For the past 25 years, Xpress has been committed to in-depth, balanced reporting about the greater Asheville area. We want everyone to have access to our stories. That’s a big part of why we've never charged for the paper or put up a paywall.

We’re pretty sure that you know journalism faces big challenges these days. Advertising no longer pays the whole cost. Media outlets around the country are asking their readers to chip in. Xpress needs help, too. We hope you’ll consider signing up to be a member of Xpress. For as little as $5 a month — the cost of a craft beer or kombucha — you can help keep local journalism strong. It only takes a moment.

About Carrie Eidson
Multimedia journalist and Green Scene editor at Mountain Xpress. Part-time Twitterer @mxenv but also reachable at Follow me @carrieeidson

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.