Iowa City Latino Festival
10 block of Linn Street — Sunday, Sept. 23, noon to 8 p.m.
The Iowa City Latino Festival will transform a block of downtown Linn Street with music, dancing, kid’s activities and a wide variety of authentic Latino cuisine on Sunday, from noon to 8 p.m. There will also be instruction in traditional dances for those interested in learning.
The festival was originally schedule for Saturday, Aug. 25, but was postponed following the arrest earlier that week of Cristhian Bahena Rivera for the murder of Univerisity of Iowa student Mollie Tibbets. On the day Rivera was arrested, he led authorities to Tibbetts’ body. Tibbets had disappeared while jogging near her home in the Poweshiek County town of Brooklyn on July 18.
“We wanted to express our solidarity with her family and friends,” Galvez told Little Village when the postponement was announced. “Mollie’s friends, professors and other people are in Iowa City, and we know they are mourning and now is not the time for a festival downtown. We don’t want to do anything that could be interpreted as disrespectful.”
In addition to wanting to show respect for Tibbetts’ family and friends, security concerns also figured the in decision to postpone the festival. Rivera is an undocumented immigrant from Mexico. He had been working at Yarrabee Farms in rural Poweshiek County at the time of his arrest.
“Some vendors told me they were afraid there could be an incident,” Galvez said. “On social media, we’re seeing a lot of hateful rhetoric. There are a lot of hateful comments being directed at the Latino community.
“Some politicians in Iowa are addressing this issue in the wrong way, I think,” he added. “We need to talk about violence against women, but that’s not what they are focusing on.”
Galvez pointed to the official statement issued by Gov. Kim Reynolds minutes after the Iowa Department of Public Safety’s (DPS) press conference announcing the arrest of Rivera.
“As Iowans, we are heartbroken, and we are angry,” Reynolds said “We are angry that a broken immigration system allowed a predator like this to live in our community, and we will do all we can bring justice to Mollie’s killer.”
The week after issuing that statement, Reynolds said, in reply to reporters’ questions about her comments on the murder of Mollie Tibbets, “I didn’t immediately start talking about immigration.”
The DPS press conference announcing the arrest of Rivera began at 4 p.m. The governor’s statement arrived in Little Village’s inbox at 4:19 p.m., and a tweet reiterating the conclusion of the statement was posted to the governor’s official account at 4:21 p.m.
This weekend’s festival is taking place on the same block as the Iowa City Senior Center, and the center will be open for tours from 1 to 4 p.m.