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New College Wraps Up "Cubano-American Community Project" With Fin De Fiesta

Sonia Labrador-Rodriguez
New College students visiting the Martinez Ybor Factory

This Saturday, New College is wrapping up a yearlong series of events around the relationship between Cuba and the U.S. 

New College professor Sonia Labrador-Rodriguez organized the Cubano-American Community Project, which looks at the deep roots Cuban-Americans have in this part of Florida.

She points to the Cuban-American cigar workers in Tampa's Ybor City and their tradition of bringing readers into factories to not only read from newspapers, but also poetry and fiction.  Labrador says it led to the civic engagement Cuban-Americans have in political conversations in the coffee shops of Tampa today.

She says the cultural and linguistic diversity of immigrants is a gift that renews American society.

“The new land gives them hope and a job and some sort of education and we get in return richness of our lives,” Labrador said.

This weekend, there's a celebration called "Fin de Fiesta" in Sarasota.  There will be dance, music and the poetry of Jose Marti, among other things.  That's from ten to noon on Saturday, April 29at New College. 

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