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LASCsignFlag.jpg (272362 bytes) Socializing at the Latin American Social Center (LASC):  The original "Latin American Social Club," depicted on the mural, was constructed in the early 1950s on Wallace Street, near the factories and West End neighborhood.  Twenty years later, a new center was built on Lincoln Highway, and in 2001 the old Wallace Street building was sold and became a privately-owned nightclub "El Paraiso."  Changes continue in 2003:  The Eastside center was closed and land has been cleared for a new, bigger and better building on the uplands overlooking Highway 30 on the Westend.  As the City of Sterling incorporates land to the West for a new industrial park, the Latin American Social Center looks toward the future, when it will be the meeting place for new generations in a prospering and growing community.

For 50 years, the Latino community has celebrated its life cycle events at the club:  Baptism dinners, Quinceañera "coming out" parties, weddings, anniversaries, funeral receptions, dances, social or educational events, and the annual folklórico program that is part of the September Fiesta Days.

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Spiritual Life: Traditionally, St.Mary's Spiritual Life:  Catholic Church and La Virgen de Guadalupe.... Today, diversified with storefront evangelical missions....

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Youth and Education:  The "Adelante" mural illustrates that lowrider clubs not only create colorful cars, but also encourage members to continue their education at Sauk Valley Community College and regional universities.  LEFT to RIGHT:  Mural panel; "Amor Latino" club president in the September Fiesta Days parade; and a hydraulic truck that displays Mexico's history with portraits of Zapata and Villa:


Participation:  To make the dream of a Latino Mural in Sterling a reality, Mexican-American community members, including teachers Palmira (Pam) Enríquez-Appelquist and Gonzalo Reyes, formed a committee and worked with the Sterling Mural Society for over two years.  Palmira appears before the mural's fifth panel that depicts the goal of "moving forward" in education and professional life.


Mig&OlgClose.jpg (188922 bytes)WSDR Radio DJs Olga and Miguel Torres -- hosts of the Sunday afternoon (4:00 to 8:00 pm) bilingual "Show Latino" -- contributed their time and effort to fund-raising, committee work, interviews, and public service spots to promote the ADELANTE mural project.


Fund-raising and organizing comes into full swing each year with the annual September Fiesta Days events:  a "Noche Cultural" with folkloric dancers, the "Don's dinner-dance," and a parade along the streets of Sterling and Rock Falls where vendors sell traditional snacks, flags, Fiesta T-shirts, and other memoriabilia.  The Sauk Valley Gazette carries photos of the floats, and announces the  honorary "don" and "doña" and "La Reina" (Queen) for September 1999 when ADELANTE was completed and dedicated.  

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LEFT to RIGHT:  Michael Reyes, 1999 LASC coordinator; don Gonzalo Reyes & doña Jane Saldivar; incoming and outgoing "Reinas" for 98-99 at the Fiesta Dance; Illinois State Representative Jerry Mitchell attending awards ceremony for artistic and athletic achievements; Jane Saldivar presenting on behalf of the LASC fiesta committee.