Maru Ayala, president of the Mexican Cultural Committee of Cicero
By: Ashmar Mandou
Unbridled joy is palpable when the president of the Mexican Cultural Committee of Cicero, Maru Ayala, talks about his culture as well as the events held throughout her 15 years with the city of Cicero. “I am truly fortunate to work alongside an administration that has understood from the start the importance of developing programs and events that honor and continue to honor the growing Mexican community. I am very grateful to President Larry Dominick, especially because he knows how important it is for communities to feel represented, ”said Ayala.
Ayala has been a member of the Cicero community for over 30 years and arrived with her two young children to find her husband who was already working in the Cicero community. “There were more opportunities for us in this country. Leaving Mexico was a real sacrifice, leaving family, friends, leaving everything behind for the uncertainty is really scary, ”said Ayala, who worked as a teacher in her hometown of Mexico City. “To see how well we have done, to see my husband and I take every opportunity we have in this country, to see my children thrive, I know I made the right decision.”
However, Ayala wanted to keep their roots intact and worked diligently to ensure that her children never forget where they came from. “Sometimes we forget, we forget the language, we forget the culture, the traditions, sometimes the grandparents or the parents don’t know how to pass this on to their children,” said Ayala, who gained her experience in the entertainment industry through magazines and newspapers as a reporter. “The idea of bringing to life cultural events that would do just that, educate, entertain and foster a sense of pride for future generations came naturally to me. I want communities to know that we are more than music and food, we are a community of resilience, tradition, diversity… Mexico is such a diverse country and I wanted to share this with everyone through the through festivals and programs, ”says Ayala. “At the beginning it was really a challenge to gain sponsors, we obviously started small. As the community grew, interest grew. Every year the festivals get bigger, our Mexican Independence Day parade and festival, our Cinco de Mayo festival even work with local teachers and leaders. We really built a strong network of people to run programs that would educate young people, keep them from getting off the streets and out of trouble, programs to help them find their roots and be proud.
There is no end in sight for Ayala. For more than a decade, Ayala has been committed to developing countless programs in partnership with the City of Cicero and she looks forward to orchestrating even more in the years to come. “I really like what I do. I love to see families come together, I love to see their enthusiasm and I just want the younger generation to know that they still have the support of their family, the city of Cicero, the multiple programs that we have to stay in. contact with their roots and be proud to share their culture with everyone.