“Estamos Aqui: We are here”.
A few weeks ago I was asked to join Latino Outdoors at the White House for a very special screening of “Estamos Aqui~A Celebration of Nature y Cultura”. This film was directed by award winning filmmaker, guest speaker and founder of The Nature Kids Institute Mr. Kenny Ballentine. Estamos Aqui is co-produced by Kenny Ballentine and Jose Gonzalez. Gonzales is the founder of Latino Outdoors and a member of the Latino Conservation Alliance.
The Latino population is the fastest growing American demographic. They are also among the most under-represented groups in conservation, outdoor recreation, and environmental education organizations – Latino Outdoors.
What are the causes and consequences of this divide? What are the challenges and opportunities? Latino families and individuals from all over the United States are already connecting with their history, their culture and their communities. In the Estamos Aqui documentary you get to meet these inspiring people, hear their stories and discover how our connection to nature simultaneously makes us unique and brings us together.
The film would not only make it’s premiere at The White House but during Hispanic Heritage Month. To recognize and celebrate the contributions and the importance of Hispanic and Latino Americans to the United States and highlight our heritage and culture as we diversify the Outdoors. This was a once in a lifetime opportunity for us all. The mission and goals of Latino Outdoors to be visible with top-level conservation leaders as well as members of Congress is exceptional. The film was beautiful and it made me proud to be a part of this story. The story of Latinos and the relationships we are building with Nature and not leaving our Culture at the entrance of a trail but making it part of the journey.
Here is a link to the speakers and panel that occurred right before the screening. Enjoy!
Latino Outdoors at The White House!
The opportunity also included a tour of the East Wing at The White House and WOW! The rooms are rich in history and we took it all in. We individually absorbed the day and how special it was. It’s not everyday that these moments happen. The smiles were endless and the energy was amazing.
Once we actually made it pass all security checkpoints we were allowed to do a self-guided tour of The East Wing. Welcome to The White House! We were allowed to take pictures with our cell phones and off we went. Exploring the East Wing was a surreal experience for us all. The wing had a Green room, a Blue room, a Red room and the opulence and history was definitely felt as we walked the corridors.
The East Wing has nine rooms and as you exit you have a great photo op under The United States Seal.
In my wildest dreams I would not have imagined that my love of Nature would have blessed me with a beautiful Outdoor Family and a trip with them to The White House. I recently celebrated one year as Ambassador for Latino Outdoors~Southwest. We are volunteers, active stewards and advocates for natural spaces. The importance of sharing our stories and empowering the next generation of Latino leadership in the outdoors is evident in this organization.