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88Nine Radio Milwaukee

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Celebrating Latino culture in Milwaukee

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If you happened to walk in the Grand Avenue Mall last week, you might have noticed some terrifying faces staring up at you from the Milwaukee Public Theater space.  Those were the faces of three devil puppets being made by the ACLU Wisconsin for Latino Carnaval.

The puppets were used in the Grand Parade of Latino Carnaval, an event that celebrates Latino culture in Milwaukee. 

“Latino Carnaval is great because it brings 19 Latino cultures from around the world to Milwaukee to celebrate the food, the dancing, the grandeur, the folklore so that people can learn more about their own heritage or a heritage that interests them,” said Syd Robinson, youth and programs organizer for the ACLU of Wisconsin   

The Carnaval lasted four days and was filled with different events showcasing the cultures of various Latino nations.

The devil puppets were meant to represent important issues facing Milwaukee’s Latino community today.

“The ACLU of Wisconsin and the Milwaukee Public Theater got together with 40 or 50 students from around Milwaukee to talk about issues of Latino culture and identity and how that plays out in the broader Milwaukee tapestry,” said Emilio De Torre, ACLU director of youth and programs.

The three masks represented racism, segregation and anti-immigration.  The fourteen-foot tall puppets were worn on backpacks and made out of recyclable materials.  Robinson and De Torre were hoping to spark a dialogue in the community about changes that can be made to deal with these issues.

To hear more about Latino Carnaval, check out Dori Zori’s interview with Sid Robinson and Emilio Del Torre by clicking the player above.     

-Blog post written by Emily Cartwright