Salsa social raises breast cancer awareness
December 17, 2012 · Print This Article
Hosted by the Interactive Cancer Awareness Resource and Education organization (iCARE), and the Ohio Hispanic Heritage Coalition (OHHC), the first of 12 events was held at the Charleston Coffee House Dec. 15 in Lorain. The event, dubbed “Salsa Social for a Cause” took place to raise breast cancer awareness, which disproportionately affects minorities.
“Salsa is such a world-wide phenomenon,” said Ed Morales, event organizer. “Every demographic, you name it they all follow salsa.
Morales also said more people need to know about the Amigas program, so the OHHC wanted to change that.
The evening began with couple’s dancing salsa which were performed by residents of Lorain as well as members from Case Western Reserve in Cleveland.
Willy Davila danced with Amiga volunteer, Diane Soto-Dismute to start the night off and their dance was followed by Davila and his young daughter.
“That was the highlight of the night,” said Morales. “The youth and the adult dancing, we didn’t anticipate that, but that was the highlight.”
The last performance was by Kathy Mai and Borge Zomoro of Case Ballroom at Case Western Reserve in Cleveland, Morales said the coalition wanted to bring people from outside the county to bring unity.
“They were really good, what they did was not easy,” said Diane Marrero-Pinto, OHHC president. “I was really appreciative and that little girl, she was something.”
After the performances the attendees were given a salsa lesson by David Ramirez, who has been teaching salsa for decades. Marrero said an important part of the salsa social was passing down Latino traditions to the younger generation, so lessons were given to those who may not know how to dance salsa.
“One of our key goals is to continue to preserve our culture,” she said. “We thought it would be a good time to utilize our culture and showcase the pride of our culture, to save our culture by giving it to our children and grandchildren.”
In the spirit of passing culture, an open mic night called Oye Mi Voz, Hear My Voice “An Evening of Spoken Word” organized and ran by Roberta Rose (DJ RoRo). The event provided a path for youth to express themselves through their writing.
“It’s something that young adults like,” said Marrero. “Rap is poems with music. We can utilize that love for rap, and for one day we get them off the streets and share it”
During the event, Rosa echoed those words saying an outlet like that is even more important today since Lorain City Schools took away most arts programs in the district.
The event benefited the Amigas program, a breast cancer awareness advocacy program made up of volunteers. The Amigas program not only share knowledge of breast cancer, but also provide free breast cancer screenings for those who do not have insurance.
Marrero said the event was designed to bring awareness to the large number of Latinas that are not taking care of themselves, not going to the doctor and not getting tested
In 2011, 6.8 percent of the population in Lorain County was Hispanic/Latino women. Hispanic/Latino women are 30 percent less likely to develop breast cancer than Caucasian women; however, breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in Hispanic/Latino women. In the United States, 70 out of every 100,000 Hispanic/Latino women are afflicted with breast cancer each year.
Approximately 1,740 Hispanic/Latino women die from breast cancer each year in the United States. In Ohio, out of fifty Hispanic/Latino women diagnosed with breast cancer, approximately 4.8 will die from the disease. In Lorain County, out of fifty-six Hispanic/Latino women diagnosed, five will die from the disease.
Common theories on why Latinas are disproportionately affected by breast cancer include the doctor/patient language barrier, lack of preventive care, no health insurance, and not going to the doctor for fear of being diagnosed.
And that is why Morales thought this cause was so important.
“I said let’s connect a cause to something like salsa, advocate for causes. And it’s all about helping the community, he said.
“Our goal is to bring out causes that people otherwise wouldn’t know about,” said Marrero.
The OHHC plans to have socials every month, next month’s social will be near the end of January benefiting mental health, the plan is to build community leaders as they grow and share pride in the Latino culture.
“We promote tradition, and we promote causes like breath cancer awareness, said Morales.
“There’s a spark, a conduit, and a wire,” said Marrero. “The coalition, we are the conduit, we are looking for the grassroots leaders, they are the wire. We need all three to turn the switch on, once the switch is on the whole community lights up.”
Breast cancer statistics gathered from the Susan B. Koman Foundation