LULAC and The Maru Montero Dance Company Launch the National Cinco de Mayo Festival®: Salud en Cinco de Mayo!

May 5, 2012

Contact: Paloma Zuleta,

With $500k in Support from the Walmart Foundation, LULAC Continues to Expand Its Health Initiatives That Address Disparities in the Latino Community

Washington, DC - The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) and the Maru Montero Dance Company (MMDC) have partnered to celebrate Cinco de Mayo with a festival, entitled, The National Cinco de Mayo Festival: Salud en Cinco de Mayo!

As part of that celebration, and in support of its health education initiative, Latinos Living Healthy, LULAC will provide critical access to health resources and increase public awareness around healthy eating and the importance of physical activity. This year marks the 20th anniversary of MMDC’s commitment to foster an appreciation of Latino culture with the annual National Cinco de Mayo Festival.

With support from the Walmart Foundation and the PepsiCo Foundation, LULAC is continuing its commitment to reach Latinos across the United States through a health initiative designed to educate the Latino community and expand on its community health education component to raise awareness around today's healthy food options. MMDC and LULAC are committed to celebrating the rich traditions of Cinco de Mayo with a festival that includes access to health services, healthy food options, physical activity, and dance performances. Walmart’s support is an extension of their Healthier Foods Initiative, aimed at providing their customers healthier and more affordable food choices.

“We felt that Cinco de Mayo provided an exciting opportunity where we could celebrate the rich traditions of the Latino community with healthy food options and physical activity,” said Brent Wilkes, LULAC national executive director. “The partnership with the Maru Montero Dance Company was based on our common goals of educating Latinos in both cultural awareness and healthy living.”

“We are proud to celebrate 20 years as a Latino dance company and producer of The National Cinco de Mayo Festival, a free, family-oriented celebration of Latino culture. We welcome the contributions of LULAC to promote better health among Latinos, and of our other sponsors, including the Washington, DC, Mayor's Office on Latino Affairs,” remarked Maru Montero, President of MMDC.

“The health festival will provide a unique opportunity for the Latino community to learn more about the affordable food options available at Walmart,” said Andrea Thomas, senior vice president of sustainability at Walmart. “Walmart understands the challenge faced by families trying to choose between healthy foods and food they can afford. Making healthier food options available to our customers and supporting programs that give people the skills and knowledge to make healthier food choices is critical to living healthier lives and the cornerstone for our support of Latinos Living Healthy.”

"In 2009, PepsiCo made a promise. For the next 10 years, we promised to deliver sustainable growth by investing in a healthier future for our consumers, our planet, our associates and external partners and the communities we serve,” said Tim Russell, Director of Public Relations at PepsiCo. “Through support from the PepsiCo Foundation, we are proud to continue this promise by investing in LULAC’s National Cinco de Mayo Festival to help promote health education during this important day of celebration.”

It is no random act that the obesity epidemic is predominately among the underserved and minority communities. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Hispanics are 16% (50.5 million people) of the total U.S. population, the fastest growing and largest minority group with the highest number of children under the age of 18 years. According to the Office of Minority Health, one of the most pressing issues affecting this growing segment of the population is health; disparities in access, quality of service, and burden of chronic and infectious diseases.

At The National Cinco de Mayo Festival: Salud en Cinco de Mayo! the public will have free access to:

  • Concert with Luis Enrique;
  • Opportunity to break the Guinness World Record for the largest Zumba class with Catalina Mejia, 15, proclaimed to be the youngest Zumba instructor by the Guinness World Records;
  • Sport drills managed by the NFL’s Play 60 campaign;
  • The Whitman Walker clinic and the Children’s Hospital will be providing free health screenings, such as eye, dental, and physical exams, and HIV testing;
  • The Department of Veterans Affairs will provide on-site physical and mental counseling exclusively for veterans, all day;
  • Representatives from the White House’s Let’s Move! Initiative; the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services the U.S. Department of Agriculture; the Environmental Protection Agency; and the Department of the Interior, will be informing the community about the various programs and resources that are available to the Latino community;
  • Dance clinics, contests, and cultural performances; and
  • Free cooking demonstrations provided by local chefs.

The following Federal Agencies will be present to provide information regarding the services they offer to the community:
  • U.S. Department of Health & Human Services: Office on Women’s Health; Office of Health Reform, and the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services;
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture: Food & Nutrition Services; Let’s Move Faith and Communities, and the Food Safety and Inspection Services;
  • U.S. Department of the Interior & the National Park Service: Let’s Move Outside!, Let’s Move Junior Rangers; and
  • Representatives from The First Lady’s Let’s Move! initiative

About LULAC:
The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) is the nation’s largest and oldest civil rights and volunteer-based organization that empowers Hispanic Americans and builds strong Latino communities. Headquartered in Washington, DC, with 900 councils across the United States and Puerto Rico, LULAC’s programs, services and advocacy address the most important issues for Latinos, meeting critical needs of today and the future. For more information, visit Follow LULAC on Twitter @lulacnational (#CincoDC12) and like the fan page on Facebook.

About MMDC:
The Maru Montero Dance Company was formed in 1992 by Maru Montero, a former dancer with the Ballet Folklórico de Mexico. The company has trained hundreds of young people and adults and performed at the Kennedy Center, the White House and theaters across the Washington, DC area. For more information visit Follow MMDC on Twitter @MaruMonteroDC and like the fan page on Facebook.

About Philanthropy at Walmart:
Walmart and the Walmart Foundation are proud to support initiatives that are helping people live better around the globe. In May 2010, Walmart and its Foundation made a historic pledge of $2 billion through 2015 to fight hunger in the U.S. The Walmart Foundation also supports education, workforce development, environmental sustainability, and health and wellness initiatives. To learn more, visit

About PepsiCo:
PepsiCo is a global food and beverage leader with net revenues of more than $65 billion and a product portfolio that includes 22 brands that generate more than $1 billion each in annual retail sales. Our main businesses – Quaker, Tropicana, Gatorade, Frito-Lay and Pepsi-Cola – make hundreds of enjoyable foods and beverages that are loved throughout the world. PepsiCo's people are united by our unique commitment to sustainable growth by investing in a healthier future for people and our planet, which we believe also means a more successful future for PepsiCo. We call this commitment Performance with Purpose: PepsiCo's promise to provide a wide range of foods and beverages for local tastes; to find innovative ways to minimize our impact on the environment by conserving energy and water and reducing packaging volume; to provide a great workplace for our associates; and to respect, support and invest in the local communities where we operate. For more information, please visit

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