Congressman Sanford Bishop

Representing the 2nd District of Georgia


Oct 1, 2013
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. (GA-02) released the following statement today in recognition of the First Annual Tri-City Latino Festival, which was held on September 21, 2013 in Columbus, Georgia:

“The First Annual Tri-City Latino Festival was a magnificent success and the beginning of a wonderful new tradition in the tri-city area of Columbus, Georgia; Fort Benning, Georgia; and Phenix City, Alabama. Our area has long had an exigent need for an event such as this to promote and celebrate the diversity within the area. I am looking forward to joining in on the festivities for years to come.”

Congressman Bishop submitted a statement to the Congressional Record and it was presented to the founders, Columbus City Councilor Evelyn “Mimi” Woodson and Mr. Harold “Lefty” Encarnacion, at the event. The text of the Congressional Record Statement can be found below.



Congressional Record Statement

In Celebration of the 1st Annual Tri-City Latino Festival in Columbus, Georgia

Mr. Bishop (GA) – Mr. Speaker, I rise today to salute the start of a new tradition in Columbus, Georgia, the 1st Annual Tri-City Latino Festival, which will be held on Saturday, September 21, 2013 at the South Commons at 400 4th Street in Columbus, Georgia. The festival is being supported by the tri-city area of Columbus, Georgia, Fort Benning, Georgia and Phenix City, Alabama. The festival will celebrate diversity within the Latino cultures found in the tri-city communities.

The Tri-City Latino Festival came about from a vision to unite people from all walks of life for one unique purpose. This dream was shared by Harold “Lefty” Encarnacion and Evelyn “Mimi” Woodson and together, they began working to make it a reality. They brought on Carlos Huertas and created a board of members to form a plan of action. Unfortunately, a number of difficulties arose and the board faded out of existence. But the original members were persistent. After overcoming these obstacles, they formed a new group and consulted with Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson, who was enthusiastic about supporting the event.

Unfortunately, another obstacle presented itself and the event had to be cancelled again. However, the group brought on Roberto “Tito” Aron to contribute his talents and expertise. The group consulted with the Panamanian Association of Columbus, Georgia, who was thrilled to sponsor the event, and the planning continued in full force, culminating in this magnificent occasion.

The Tri-City Latino Festival will kick off with a 5k Run at 10:00 a.m. There will be an opening ceremony at noon, followed by a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu tournament, Señorita beauty contest, Zumba demonstration and dominoes tournament. There will also be art displays by local high schools and a Kid’s Zone for children. In the evening, there will be a main show by an international recording artist, followed by cultural dances, a dance contest, and performances by local and international musical groups. It is sure to be a day filled with innovative, vibrant and enjoyable displays of Latino art, talent and culture. 

The tri-city area has long had an exigent need for an event such as this. A large number of Hispanic countries are represented in the tri-city area, and this is a great opportunity to educate the community about them and celebrate the vibrant and diverse cultures.

Our nation is struggling today because of inefficient and ineffective laws from the past, a disagreement about how to address the consequences, and a divided interest in what is best for the future of America. These incongruities have a harsh effect on the lives of millions of people every day. A mother worries she will be separated from her children, a father puts in long, grueling hours of hard labor just to put food on the table, a high school graduate is denied the chance to go to college, all because they are unable to become citizens or legal residents of the country they call home.

In the past year, our nation has taken a step forward in trying to repair our immigration system and lay the groundwork for a prosperous future. We cannot afford to lose the momentum we’ve gained and many working immigrant families cannot afford to continue to live in uncertainty. It is imperative that we continue working to keep the American dream in reach for all those who seek it.

A Spanish proverb often cited says, “A mal tiempo, buena cara” or “in bad weather, a head held high.” I believe this proverb is very accurate of the Latino people here in our area. In the face of adversity, they keep their good spirits and work harder, push longer, and believe greater. 

I am proud to be a part of an area that thrives on its diversity and unites members of the community to honor the struggle, sacrifice and success of their ancestors from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. This partnership between Columbus, Phenix City and Fort Benning has fostered the spirit of community that is so deeply anchored in these ancestral roots.

 Mr. Speaker, I ask that my colleagues join me in saluting the residents of Columbus and Fort Benning, Georgia and Phenix City, Alabama as they come together to celebrate the 1st Annual Tri-City Latino Festival. This spirited celebration is sure to be the beginning of a great tradition that brings people of all walks of life together to celebrate diversity, to rejoice at how far we have come as a society, and to reflect upon how far we have yet to go.