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‘Very proud’ Latina business owners reflect on heritage on Mexican Independence Day

Friday marks Mexican Independence Day. It celebrates the cry of independence from Spain on September 16, 1810.

It reminds many of the spirit of freedom helps maintain a bond between Hispanics here in the Coachella Valley and their home countries.

Several latino-owned businesses can be found throughout the valley. One of them includes Seiden-Juku in La Quinta, a martial arts program for those with special needs.

“I started when I was three [years old] , my dad was my Sensei," said owner Sensei Tamara Canedo-Lifschutz. Karate has always been a huge part of her life. Both of her parents are from Mexico. And although she was born and raised in the Coachella Valley, she’s proud of her heritage.

"To me, being able to get my name out there, getting my culture out there, the business out there, it’s just such a good opportunity for the youth to be proud of their culture.” As a Latina business owner, she’s able to pass along that knowledge through what she loves to do.

“It’s really been great because a lot of my families are solely Spanish speaking, so being able to communicate and share the culture with them has been a complete blessing for us," Canedo-Lifschutz explained.

Every day, she teaches karate to students of all different backgrounds. Through her journey as a Sensei, she has also created a non-profit. She's found ways to bring her experiences back to Mexico. “The first thing I wanted to do was partner with an orphanage that’s based out of Mexico, and so for about a year we taught to an orphanage in Mexico with just special needs individuals and it was incredible.”

Over in Indio, Myrna Mendiola, also shares a passion in working with kids.

“Able to provide that safe place that home away from home, you know for them and just reassuring them that you know it's gonna be fine," Mendiola said.

As the owner of Little Fox Play Den childcare, she said the business all started from becoming a mom herself. Mendiola said growing up Latina taught her how to value work ethic. “We're very united. We're very let's encouraged each other. We got each other, that's all we have is each other. Yeah. So it's it's teaching the kids to look after everyone, you know, not just themselves.”

Mendiola's parents were born in Mexico. She tells me that by watching what the struggles they endured makes her appreciate her culture even more. “Our parents, knowing how they struggled. And our generation, trying to be better so that the other generation can also be better. You know, it's, it's knowing where we came from to become better."

Working in childcare, she’s not only able to also teach kids the fundamentals but to also pass along her heritage. “Put something in perspective for them of what symbolizes us, you know, and a flag," she explained, "So it was a great teaching skill, color skill and our heritage spell. So it was it was it was a lot in one and they they loved it.”

On Saturday September 17, The Annual "Fiestas Patrias" will take place in Coachella.

The event will be held 3pm to 10pm at Coachella's Rancho Las Flores Park and is free to the public.

Attendees will enjoy live musical performances, the traditional Fiestas Patrias ceremony, a variety of cultural food booths, an open beer garden, informational exhibits, and games for children. This event is an opportunity to celebrate the Mexican culture and reach a massive audience in a grass-roots style one day event.

Our sister stations, Telemundo 15 and La Poderosa, are sponsoring the event.

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Samantha Lomibao

Samantha joined KESQ News Channel 3 in May 2021. Learn more about Samantha here here.

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