Chicago’s Mexico Week Kicks Off Ahead of Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo is this Friday, and Chicago is celebrating.

The Mexican Consulate in Chicago is hosting the return of Mexico Week for the second year, running Wednesday through Sunday, May 14.

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This year the consulate is partnering with the government of Jalisco to offer Mexican and Jalisco-inspired dishes, traditional dances and music at Navy Pier, children’s workshops and much more.

“We know that it is a day that lives in the imagination of everybody, not only Mexicans but also people without Mexican roots that enjoy Mexican food and traditions,” said Reyna Torres Mendivil, consul general of Mexico in Chicago. “Jalisco is a fit state for many reasons because everybody knows tequila, mariachi, but also because our Jalisco community here is huge, and is one of the largest hometown origins that we have here among our diaspora, so we’re delighted to kind of fulfill everybody’s days with Jalisco.”

The Mexican Food Route, which includes 18 restaurants across Chicago, will offer special Mexican and Jalisco-inspired dishes or beverages, such as tortas ahogadas and birria. To view the full list, click here.

“Restaurants are preparing a specific meal that is coming from Jalisco,” Torres Mendivil said. “I want all Mexicans to participate and to enjoy our culture, but also those people that have nothing to do with Mexico. Don’t only go and drink margaritas, but also learn about Mexico, our culture, our music or traditions. I think that’s the goal: to make sure that everybody knows that we have a huge community here that contributes enormously to the well-being of this city, of this state. We’re here, and it’s great. It makes this city richer, more diverse and more fun.”

The opening ceremony will take place at 4 p.m. Friday at Navy Pier.

Joyous Event Comes As Restrictive Title 42 Border Policy Set to Expire May 11

The celebrations come amid heightened concerns over migrants being sent to Chicago and as the Title 42 border policy is set to come to a close. The policy allowed expelling asylum seekers at the border because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This is not something that can be addressed unilaterally for many reasons,” Torres Mendivil said. “It’s a very complex issue, and different elements get involved in finding solutions for specific things. Just yesterday, one of the Homeland Security advisors visited Mexico and with President Lopez Obrador and with the minister of foreign affairs, and they issued a press release kind of targeting the basic points. This is a long-term issue. We cannot come up with solutions that are going to make things disappear from one day to the other. It’s a humane issue.”

Many of the migrants at the border are not originally from Mexico, but rather, are traveling through Mexico and coming from countries like Venezuela, Colombia and Honduras.

“All of us should do our part,” Torres Mendivil said. “For example, Mayor Lightfoot addressed this issue just recently with a letter that she sent to Gov. Abbott. Here in the consulate, one of the things that we are doing is we’re trying to provide textbooks from Mexico in Spanish for the school districts that now are trying to process these kids that are coming and find themselves in this area without any possibility for education in their own language. To help that, we have included many schools in our program to distribute Mexican textbooks that could be a very useful tool for them. I know that the organizations and CPS really welcome this because it’s a big help.”

Note: This article has been updated to clarify the event's run dates. 

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