PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Cinco de Mayo is a roughly 150 year old tradition that celebrates a battle in 1862, in which Mexico defeated the French army.
It celebrates Mexican pride, in that unlikely victory. In America this Cinco de Mayo, some Mexican nationals are focusing on a very different battle.
“I just want to talk to the people don’t have fear,” said Juan Carlos Romero.
Romero is a Mexican business owner in South Philadelphia, who said battling fear is what he is focused on.
“Leave the fears out. We are part of this country. We are part of this community,” added Romero.
Because of fear South Philadelphia’s Annual ‘Carnival de Puebla’ was cancelled. It’s one of the country’s largest Cinco de Mayo celebrations.
Organizers were concerned undocumented Mexicans could be targeted by ICE, but Juan Carlos Romero and other Mexican nationals in the area organized a smaller celebration along 9th Street and Ellsworth.
It’s an area where most of the businesses are Mexican owned.
“For people to come and really experience that side of it, rather than these ‘bad hombres’ and all this weird dialogue. We’re like, ‘we are just people!’ We just want to go to church and live our lives and work,” said Karenina Wolff with South Philadelphia Latino Business Association.
Knowing many undocumented Mexicans will likely stay home, the hope for the smaller celebration is to educate others in the community on what Mexicans here have to offer.
“We are a part of this neighborhood. We are a part of this city,” said Romero, “We are a part of the economics. We are not the problem. We are a part of the solution of the economic problem of this country.”