NH Colombians are a tight-knit community. But an artist wants them to take a step further
Around two thousand Colombians live in New Hampshire, most of them in Nashua. Many emigrated years ago, fleeing from paramilitary and guerrilla violence. Others with higher education came to open small businesses and seek a better life
Nashua and Manchester have several Colombian restaurants and at Latino festivals, there is a high chance at least one Colombian couple is dancing.
New Hampshire's Colombians like to support each other, but leaders in that community often say they would like to have a place to meet all year long, not only two or three times a year, in public gatherings — a place to learn about resources or welcome new immigrants.
Colombian artist Alexandra Segura wants to take her community a step further. She arrived in the state two years ago and has been trying to make meaningful connections. She was looking for a way to support her people and found the answer on the long drives she takes selling utensils for Mexican restaurants across New Hampshire.
“All the time, I stop to think about colors, forms, and textures,” she said. “I need that connection with nature for inspiration, and New Hampshire is giving me that.”
Segura wants other kids to be inspired by New Hampshire’s landscapes, too. She has partnered with Fundación Promotora Colombiana de Cultura, an organization that works with vulnerable kids in her country and inspires them to create art. She is bringing her work to New Hampshire and New England with the goal of educating immigrants’ sons and daughters about Colombian arts, history, geography, and Spanish.
Segura says people of all Hispanic countries have similar stories: their children are disconnected from their past and are losing their ability to speak Spanish. For now, her efforts are focused on the Colombian community, but she hopes to expand the program to people of other Hispanic countries.
“The parents shouldn’t be blamed because when they arrive, all they want is to learn English,” Segura said. “They are working all the time and don’t see that teaching their kids Spanish is important.”
She is seeking Colombian mentors, artists, writers, or painters who can volunteer. She says kids up to 14 years old, youth and young adults will be able to access writing, dance, and painting workshops for free. The workshops will take place in the Marion Gerrish Community Center in Derry.
To contact the organization, call: 978 518-7702