The History of the Yakima-Morelia Sister City Association
In 1995 a letter was sent to the mayor of Yakima, Pat Berndt by the mayor of Morelia, Fausto Vallejo Figueroa, suggesting a formal relationship between the two cities. This letter was the impetus that initiated a committee of Yakima citizens, led by Leopoldo "Polo" Aguilera, who then spent several months doing research. In 1997, the mayor of Yakima, Lynn Buchanan and the mayor of Morelia, Salvador Lopez Orduno continued the process with the naming of an official Sister City Committee. In March of 1999, the Washington Secretary of State issued a Certificate of Incorporation for the Yakima-Morelia Sister City Association. In May of 1999, the Yakima City Council passed Resolution R-99-63, signed by Mayor John Puccinelli that established Yakima and Morelia as Sister Cities.
The mission of the Y-MSCA is to promote mutual understanding and the sharing of cultural diversity among citizens in the communities of Yakima, Washington and Morelia, Michoacan, Mexico.
What are Sister City Associations?
Sister cities, also known as friendship towns, partner towns or twin towns, go back to the end of World War I when some English and French towns decided to partner together for their mutual benefit. This practice continued after World War II as a way to bring various European people into a closer understanding of each other and to promote cross-border projects of mutual benefit.
The American sister city program was initiated in 1956 by President Dwight Eisenhower. It was originally administered as part of the National League of Cities, but since 1967 it has been a separate organization. Sister Cities International (SCI) is a nonprofit citizen diplomacy network created to strengthen partnerships between U.S. and international communities in an effort to increase global cooperation at the municipal level, to promote cultural understanding and to stimulate private business and economic development.
The City of Morelia
Morelia, the state capital of Michoacan, Mexico is a historic and beautiful city built during Mexico's viceregal era. It is located in the central zone of the Mexican Republic at an elevation of 6400 ft. and is 187 miles west of Mexico City. The climate is warm and semi-humid with rain during the summer.
The Spanish Virrey Don Antonio de Mendoza founded the city in 1541, calling it "Valladolid" after the city of the same name in Spain. In tribute to the Mexican national hero, Don Jose Maria Morelos y Pavon, leader of the movement for Mexican independence from the Spain, the city was later renamed "Morelia."
Morelia has been named a Cultural World Heritage site by UNESCO. The best way to learn about Morelia is to walk through its plazas, gardens, palatial buildings, and churches in its historical center. Built in the 16th century around a Franciscan monastery, Morelia's 249 historic monuments are built mostly in warm pink stone following a strict chessboard design. All have been restored or maintained to retain their structure and show the vital cultural and economic life that flourished in the city in the 17th century.
Michoacan is a Purepecha Indian word that means "fisherman's place." It is a region rich in history, tradition, culture, art, folklore, and gastronomy.
The City of Yakima
Yakima is located in the southeast center of the state of Washington on the eastern side of the Cascade Mountains at an elevation of 1060 ft. and 137 miles SE of Seattle.
Yakima has a warm semi-arid climate with an annual rainfall of 8.29 inches and an annual snowfall of 23.7 inches.
Yakima County, of which Yakima is the county seat, is best known for its abundance of agriculture. It is considered one of the best apple growing regions in the world and is also a major grower of cherries, peaches, asparagus, hops and grapes for the production of high quality wines.
The name originates from the Yakama Nation. The Yakama people were the first recorded inhabitants of the Yakima Valley. In 1805 the Lewis and Clark Expedition came through the area and discovered abundant wildlife and rich soil, soon to be followed by homesteaders from the east.
The city was officially incorporated and named the county seat on January 27, 1886. Because of the dry sunny climate and abundant outdoor activities, Yakima is seen as a growing wine tourism and resort destination.