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Kingston Community Leaders: Susie Ximenez

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PHOTO: DAVID MCINTYRE
  • Photo: David McIntyre

What organization(s) are you involved with in Kingston and what is your role?

I’m the founder of Latinx Project here in the Hudson Valley, and this year, we have mainly been focused In Kingston. We had a four-month, multi-site series of workshops and art openings in City Hall, the LGBTQ Center, and the Reher Center as well. I work alongside The Folk Art Department for Arts Mid-Hudson in the Latino Cultural Study. The goal is to eventually create a “Casa de Cultura” (cultural center).


Where do you go in Kingston to recharge?

I do love a good concert at BSP to recharge and also the library.


What is the biggest challenge facing Kingston?

Not sure if its the biggest challenge, but the one most recently affecting those surrounding me is the lack of resources made available in multiple languages regarding topics from housing to education and healthcare. Sometimes, it is not just simply translation but an understanding of culture that is so important.


What is the most woke thing Kingston could do?

Listen to all its community members. And, leave space to the community that already exist.


Where is your favorite place to go in Kingston for a bite or a beer? What do you like about it?

My favorite place is El Mercadito on Broadway for diablito or pupusas from Mi Ranchito.


Why does your organization’s work matter?

LatinX Project seeks to increase the visibility of the Latinx community and promote Latinx art and culture in the Hudson Valley. Working with various Latinx artists to create awareness of social issues, we invest in creative work that highlights the complexity, nuance, and beauty of communities who are often rendered criminal or invisible.


What challenges/pain points does your organization face?

Racist remarks, homophobia, a lack of understanding of the word Latinx, and what it really means to many of us. Latinx is not just a gender-neutral term, there is more in that letter X. The letter X in our indigenous alphabet, the X in an equation of never really having the answers.


What is one service/offering/event your organization offers that the community might not know about?

MERCADITO! Which translates to tiny market. The mission of the Mercadito is to create a market run and operated by people of color who are makers and artists.


Why do you love living in Kingston?

The community, I love driving down Broadway every morning and seeing so many Latino/a-run businesses.


Do you have a favorite artist?

One of my all time favorite artists is Guadalupe Posada.


Share your thoughts on art as a form of protest and vehicle for change.

Art has the power to move audiences in ways that movement messaging can’t-through new narratives that relate to and transform their own experiences.


Tell me the significance of St Peters church on Wurts Street to you?

As the daughter of immigrants, I hold St. Peter’s Church close to my heart, especially now with the many conversations happening around "Sanctuary” and what that exactly means or how it looks. To my parents the church on Wurts Street was exactly that, a sanctuary, one of the first places to offer any sort of service in their native language, Spanish, when everything was in English. I understand the colonization of my native country and what a major role religion played in that, and every time I visit the church I’m reminded of all my countries complex identities and struggles and how they exist inside me, that constant “No soy de aqui, ni de alla,” which translates to “I’m not from here, nor from there.”

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