Celia Cruz Park
Backstory and Context
Celia Cruz was an Afro-Cuban singer and is also known as Cuba’s greatest singer and the Queen of Latin Music and Salsa. But this was not an easy journey for her. She was born in Havana, Cuba on October 1925. As she grew up she began realizing her talent for singing and wanted to pursue singing as a career. She faced a lot of opposition, especially from her father. Her father believed that such kind of a career was not suitable or respectable for women. Regardless, Celia Cruz pursued this career and performed with Cuba’s most well-known bands at the time. When the Castro Regime took power in Cuba, Celia Cruz was one of the few celebrities to speak up against him. Celia Cruz is exiled and eventually immigrates to the United States. Celia Cruz brings along her Latin Music and Salsa to the United States. Celia Cruz brought her unique sense of music, style and culture influenced American music and gave us insight into Hispanic and Latino culture. In addition to that, Celia Cruz has won many Grammy Awards as well as Latin Grammy Awards. In addition, she has also been involved with humanitarian work and has been in Hollywood’s Walk of Fame. She is extremely important to Hispanic and Latino culture because she was a symbol for hope and freedom for many Cuban exiles.
The Celia Cruz Park was founded in 2005 in Union City, New Jersey. This park was dedicated to honor Celia Cruz and the music and culture that she brought along with her to the United States. This park is significant to many Hispanic and Latino immigrants because, in a sense, this symbolizes a dedication to their culture of which Celia Cruz was an icon of. It is seen how Cuban communities have contributed so much to Union City as well as other neighboring communities. Cubans and other Latinos have brought their culture, food and music into the United States and have helped transform Union City into an embroidery hub and how they are credited with “reviving the city’s industry.” We also gain some insight into the Cuban immigrant lifestyle and how it was reassuring for many people to know how other Latino immigrants were also going through similar circumstances. This is important because we know that Celia Cruz was also an immigrant which gives us an insight into her life as well. Commemorating her by dedicating a park to Celia Cruz symbolizes hope and freedom for Cuban-Americans in the Castro Regime.
Over the years, Union City and neighboring communities has been a home to many Hispanic and Latino communities. Union City has been a home to a wide variety of people. Cuban immigration into the United States, particularly in Union City has contributed to the community in terms of culture, history, music, etc. The article states that Cuban-Americans flooded into the United States during the Castro Regime. Many of these Cubans quickly assimilated into the middle and upper middle class of the American Society. They were mostly well-educated professionals and had influence over a lot of cultural, social, and political aspects. It shows how Cubans brought along a lot of things with them and it can be seen from Celia Cruz’s music as well how her Latino music and heritage contributed to American Society which is why this park was built in dedication to her.
Carmenaty, Alex. “A Tribute to Celia Cruz: The Queen of Latin Music.” The Chief, November 20, 2018. https://thechiefonline.com/news/2018/11/20/a-tribute-to-celia-cruz-the-queen-of-latin-music/.
Cleary, Kevin. “Cuban Heritage Endures in Union City, N.J.” Dollars and Sense Reporting from New York and Beyond, July 26, 2017. https://blogs.baruch.cuny.edu/dollarsandsense/2017/06/06/cuban-heritage-endures-in-union-city-n-j/.
Karabin, Gerard. “The City of Union City, New Jersey.” History. Accessed October 2, 2019. http://www.ucnj.com/departments/history/.