This past July, the nonprofit organization Colombia en Pittsburgh celebrated Colombia’s independence day with a day of events hosted on Carnegie Mellon’s campus. Students and community alike gathered for an open air celebration this past July 24th dressed in the colors of the Colombian flag and ready to enjoy the day’s festivities.
Colombia en Pittsburgh was formed in 2002 with students from all over Pittsburgh coming together to celebrate their nationalities and heritage. In July of 2012, Colombia en Pittsburgh became the 501(c)(3) nonprofit that it is today.
Their mission, in part, is to “work for the well-being of Colombians in Pittsburgh (US) and in Colombia on a short and long term process, to facilitate mutual help and integration among Colombians in Pittsburgh and the surrounding region, promote the participation of Colombians in the civic, cultural and economic life of Pittsburgh and the surrounding region, create spaces for dialogue and learning about Colombia, and to support philanthropic projects in Colombia and Pittsburgh.”
While the organization puts on a number of events for the community, their independence day celebration is the largest event they host. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it was postponed numerous times over the last few years, making this year’s celebration even more special.
Ella Serrato, director of Colombia en Pittsburgh, was excited to finally be able to put together something for the Colombian community to come together and celebrate again. “Independence day is our biggest celebration.” she said of the organization.
To start the day, Rev. Fernando Torres led a mass in Spanish at Wright-Royal Chapel at 10 am, before the event’s activities began. Following the mass, students and community alike gathered for an open air celebration with dancing, music, and food.
Food trucks from Cilantro y Ajo and Café Anibal de Colombia provided traditional Colombian dishes for festival participants throughout the day.
Sponsors of the event included Carnegie Mellon University’s Modern Languages Department and Center for Student Diversity and Inclusion, as well as Casa San Jose, the Pittsburgh Hispanic Development Corporation, Besame, Cilantro y Ajo, Aníbal Coffee, and El Círculo Juvenil de Cultura.
While their independence day celebration only happens once a year, there are a number of other events that individuals can get involved in year round. Check out their website for more ways to get involved, events to attend, and local resources for the Colombian and Latino communities of Pittsburgh!