Antonio Flores saw his grandparents for the first time in six years this weekend.
“There were lots of hugs, a lot of people were crying. I was crying, and my aunt as well was crying. It was a lot to finally see them and show them around here in North Carolina,” said Flores.
Flores’ grandparents are in North Carolina all thanks to a program through AMEXCAN, a group that promotes understanding and unity within the Mexican community.
Members of AMEXCAN helped families apply for tourist visas.
The group helped 44 families reunite with their loved ones.
“We’re talking about families that haven’t seen each other in over two decades,” said Juvencio Rocha-Peralta, Executive Director of AMEXCAN. “It’s important we give them the welcome, warm welcome, from eastern North Carolina and Greenville for them to feel like, you know they’re home.”
This reunion happens as the local community also celebrates Mexican Independence Day with games, cultural performances, and food from all over Mexico.
“What we’re trying to do here is lift up the importance of the Mexican community in eastern North Carolina and share our culture,” said Rocha-Peralta.
The members who made the trip are only here for a few weeks before they have to return to Mexico, but the good thing is, families like Flores’ are able to share the love and laughs, if only for a short time.
“We were all very excited for them and they saw how big North Carolina really is, and how fast-paced the life over here is,” said Flores.
While this is the first time AMEXCAN has hosted an event like this they hope to make it an annual celebration.