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Naghem S., a Plaza staff member, writes:

On Saturday September 19, 2015, the Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzales Branch Library hosted the Immigrant Bazaar. Merchants from all walks of life showcased their

beautiful homemade goods. Along with tasty food and a gorgeous late summer day, this event is one to be remembered for days to come. Sitting under tents and enjoying the energetic environment, vendors supplied customers with an extensive variety of food, art, clothing, jewelry, and film.

Vendors had a wide range of art to choose from. The art ranged from print to paint to abstract, where one artist utilized broken skateboards to showcase her beautiful art. There were many vendors selling beautiful handmade jewelry. Necklaces, bracelets, and rings were presented in an array of colors and designs. Home made clothing was a popular good with hand knitted ponchos making an appearance just in time for winter. At least that was my excuse for buying one.

One vendor, who was a film director, introduced her new film which spoke of a young woman fighting to keep her undocumented mother in the United States. The struggle that oftentimes is silenced had a voice that day, especially when the movie was screened at the library during the bazaar. The film gave voice to the immigrant struggle, and the constant fear of having your family ripped apart. Yes, the bazaar was a marketplace, but it was so much more.

Bazaars are not just marketplaces where one can sell or exchange goods, but rather a bazaar is a social meeting place. While, yes, items were purchased, the overall experience of the Immigrant Bazaar was almost a reunion of sorts. My friends and I met up at the bazaar and we shopped around the market while talking to vendors about their merchandise. In reality, the merchandise spoke of their journeys and the struggles. The merchandise spoke of a story. A story of pain and heartache as the beginning with survival and hope as the conclusion. One story led to another and before you knew it, time was up and the bazaar was closing. As the bazaar was closing, we bought some food and sat down on the grass to eat our lunch while the busy voices of the bazaar serenaded us.

Laughter was the music of the day and what beautiful music it was.

If you enjoyed reading about the Immigrant Bazaar, check out these great recommendations from the Denver Public Library:

What's the matter, Habibi? by Betsy Lewin

The Bazaar: Markets and Merchants of the Islamic World by Walter Weiss

Out of the Past: The Istanbul Grand Bazaar by Burton Berry

Plazas are a dedicated space for migrants from all over the world to connect with people, information, and resources, building Denver’s successful global community. This program engages newcomers of all ages and backgrounds with free opportunities and specialized support as they gain second-language conversation skills, prepare for citizenship, create new networks in business, and exchange perspectives across the immigrant experience.

To find a Plaza program near you, please see our events calendar.