New 5K charity race announced to promote Latino community in Central Texas

Carlos Gonzalez Gutierrez, Consul General of Mexico in Austin, delivers a $70,000 check to Julian Huerta, Deputy Executive Director of Foundation Communities, the non-profit that will oversee and facilitate the MEXAUSTIN Scholarship program, during a press conference announcing the launch of the program at the Consulate General of Mexico in Austin on Thursday, Nov. 5, 2015. (Tamir Kalifa for American-Statesman)
Carlos Gonzalez Gutierrez, Consul General of Mexico in Austin, delivers a $70,000 check to Julian Huerta, Deputy Executive Director of Foundation Communities, the non-profit that will oversee and facilitate the MEXAUSTIN Scholarship program, during a press conference announcing the launch of the program at the Consulate General of Mexico in Austin on Thursday, Nov. 5, 2015. (Tamir Kalifa for American-Statesman)

The Consulate General of Mexico in Austin and “Believe & Train” a running company based in Austin on Saturday announced a new charity race to raise funds for scholarships for Latino students in Central Texas and promote healthy habits within families in the Latino community.

The 5 kilometer race called “Corre Latino” will be held Saturday, Oct. 15 at the H-E-B Center at 2100 Avenue of the Stars in Cedar Park. Registration for the event is now open online at correlatino5k.com. Registration for adults is $30 during August, $35 during September and $40 during October. Children can enroll in the race for $25.

The Mexican consulate will provide financial assistance for low-income families who wish to participate in the race, organizers said during a news conference on Saturday at the Mexican American Cultural Center.

Funds for the event will go toward raising money for the MexAustin scholarship organized by the Mexican consulate and Foundation Communities, which provides financial assistance to Mexican and Latino students in Central Texas who are going to college. The scholarship fund gave out 140 scholarships worth $1,000 to students in its first year.

Organizers are hoping to raise $5,000 for the scholarship fund and to have at least 400 participants in the inaugural race.

“We ask you to spread the word to your friends, to people you know to other families,” Jorge Euran, owner of Believe & Train said in Spanish on Saturday. “The first year is always the hardest … but if we reach our goal the following years will be great.”

 

 

140 Central Texas students receive MexAustin scholarships

The Consulate General of Mexico in Austin and Foundation Communities awarded the first annual MexAustin scholarships to 140 Central Texas students Wednesday night.

During a ceremony at the Austin school district’s Performing Arts Center, the students were awarded the $1,000 scholarships, which are open to students who are Mexican, of Mexican descent or of another Latino group. The funds for the scholarships will be awarded to the recipients upon proof of admission to an institution of higher education.

Mayte Lara, an Austin high school valedictorian who was harassed online after tweeting that she was undocumented, spoke during the award ceremony. About 30 percent of the scholarship’s recipients were undocumented.

“My best advice is keep going. If you constantly listen to the things people say about you, you’re going to be held back,” Lara said to the crowd of scholars and their families. “What they say shouldn’t matter. You should always continue to fight for our rights and advocate for everything you believe in and encourage others to do the same.”

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“I just hope all of you take this scholarship and continue your education and make the world a better place,” Lara said.

Carlos González Gutiérrez, consul general of Mexico in Austin, said the award was an affirmation of the hard work the students put in throughout their high school years and a show of support that their community believes in them.

“They will succeed, I know, because as a community we have their backs,” he said.

Casa México will return to SXSW in 2017

The Mariachi del Sur from Bedichek Middle School under the direction of Philip Swasey performs at the Casa Mexico SXSW Interactive showcase at the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center on March 11, 2016. (John Clark for American-Statesman)
The Mariachi del Sur from Bedichek Middle School, under the direction of Philip Swasey, performs at the Casa Mexico SXSW Interactive showcase at the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center on March 11, 2016. (John Clark for American-Statesman)

Just a day after the end of Mexico’s first large-scale participation in South by Southwest, the consul general of Mexico in Austin, Carlos González Gutiérrez, said Tuesday that the Casa México showcase would return to the festival in 2017.

The event, organized by various sectors of the Mexican government, private businesses and a prestigious Mexican university, was held at the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center from March 11 to 14. Its focus was on promoting Mexico as a hub for culture and innovation and was home to several panels on entrepreneurship and technology and various fast-pitch competitions.

“The event went very well,” González Gutiérrez said. “I think Casa México filled a void and it’s here to stay.”

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The Mexican diplomat said there were some growing pains during the showcase that led to poor participation in some of the events. It also had difficulty attracting people from other showcases. Other setbacks included musical acts not arriving in time for their scheduled sets. Famed Mexican DJ Toy Selectah, for example, missed his set playing the inaugural ceremony Friday and was rescheduled to play Saturday.

González Gutiérrez said some of the logistic failures were due to a rushed preparation. The organizing committee for the event planned Casa México in three months.

“I think we learned a lot from our mistakes,” he said. “We needed to jump into the water to learn how to swim and I think we demonstrated that Mexico has a very important role here and a very strong presence.”

Still, the event also had significant success. It attracted big names in the technology field such as Mario Valle Reyes, director of business development in emerging markets for Electronic Arts, and high-ranking Mexican diplomats like Carlos Perez-Verdía, the country’s undersecretary to North America. And the showcase was also the site of the announcement of a new $30 million venture fund in Austin that will help develop foreign-born entrepreneurs.

González Gutiérrez said that in 2017 the event’s organizers will look to include discussions with SXSW organizers so that its panels can take place inside the Austin Convention Center or in another venue downtown, where much of the festival’s foot traffic is. Next year’s event, González Gutiérrez said, will likely be shorter than four days and the marketing and promotion will be improved. The space for networking sessions, which was one of the most popular features of the showcase, will likely be enlarged, he added.

Additional reporting by James Barragán