Celebrating Sonoma County’s Latino community
Manuel Arjona grew up on Mexico’s Yucatán peninsula and left his home to build a new life in California. His Mayan roots are now showcased in the food he serves at the downtown Sonoma restaurant he co-owns. Arjona represents just one face of Sonoma County’s Latino community, a diverse group of people who can trace their ancestry to Spain, Mexico, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Central or South America. Each year during Latino Heritage Month, we are encouraged to honor those differences while also celebrating the distinct Latino culture that is emerging in Sonoma County.
In this special section, we profile a few people who have found their own ways to contribute: Father Jojo Puthussery, who tends a primarily Latino congregation; Dr. Enrique Gonzalez-Mendez, who helps healers learn to respect differences; Ariel Carranza, who came home to teach children; Omar Gallardo, who invites others to get outside; Jose Espinoza, who makes youth soccer accessible; and Alma Navarette, who keeps us dancing. They represent the greater community of people at work shaping Sonoma County’s vibrant Latino culture into something we can all take pride in.