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KC Hispanic Chamber of Commerce celebrates opening of new Peruvian Association

littler girl Sophia Mosher, age 8, dressed in a traditional Peruvian dance outfit. (Photo by Bridgit Bowden/Hale Center for Journalism)
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Cecilia Mosher is a Peruvian woman who moved to Kansas City just one year ago. She, along with her two young daughters and friend Leyla Dejong, performed a traditional Peruvian dance called the Tondero at the recent grand opening of Kansas City Peruvian American Culture Association. The event showcased Peruvian culture in music, dancing, food and fashion.

“We dance barefoot and it represents the waves of the ocean. It’s very elegant,” Mosher said.

Although Mosher’s daughters, Mia and Sophia, are American, Mosher said they might as well be Peruvian. “To me, it’s huge that they feel the pride in my country, even though they weren’t born there,” she said. “They speak Spanish, they eat Peruvian food and they dance Peruvian dances.”

Mosher said she hopes the new Peruvian American Cultural Association will help Peruvians who live in Kansas City connect with each other. “I think it will be a magnet for Peruvian people who don’t know where to go or where to gather, and it will probably make the community stronger,” she said.

Gabriela Arslanoglu is from Peru, but moved to Kansas City in 1984. She, along with a group of other Kansas Citians from Peru, founded the organization to share their country’s culture with the community.

“The main thing here is that we are showing Peru as business,” she said. “We want to tell you how rich our country is. We are a great country to do business with. Our economy is stable, you can invest in Peru, and we have a lot of tourist attractions.”

She said many people don’t know that there is a Peruvian community in Kansas City. “Really, we have a lot of Peruvians here,” she said. “The community is a big community. There are a lot of people from different areas in Peru, the north and south and different cities.”

Tom Kerrigan is the chairman of the board of the Hispanic Chamber. He said he thinks when people think of the Hispanic community, they only think of people of Mexican heritage.

But, he said there are many different Hispanic communities right here in Kansas City, including the Peruvian community. “So, with the Peruvian culture group and those other groups, I think it really shows the community inside and outside of the Chamber just how diverse a group we are,” he said.

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