Column for the Newsletter
Dr. Rogelio Díaz Ortiz / Lic. Rogelio Cuauhtémoc Díaz Galván
September 27, 2021
I joined the Sister Cities Program twenty-two years ago when I attended the International Convention held in Guadalajara, Jalisco at the "El Hotel Tapatío”. I represented the city of Morelia and the commitment to be an effective part of this organization of citizens. It was a pleasant and captivating experience that led me to dive into the what, why and how of participating regularly in the national, international and world meetings of the Sister Cities program. The first thing I learned was that it is an honorable civic activity that transcends time and distance without the influence of political jargon, tones or parties.
In this way, I have found a worthy cause, goodwill and friends, who in some cases became brothers, in Kansas City, Missouri; Fullerton, California; Monterey Park, California and a newly created, at the time, sisterhood with Yakima, Washington. I was fortunate to visit all of these cities in order to establish partnerships that would allow us to learn from each other’s experiences and achievements in matters of; economics, sports, healthcare, education and natural disaster preparedness. Along the way, we established associations with the city of Norwalk, California; Dolores Hidalgo, Guanajuato; Atlacomulco and Ecatepec, State of Mexico, as well as Zihuatanejo, Guerrero.
I joined the boards of the National and International Associations of Sister Cities, to make relationships of the "sisterhoods'' of Morelia meaningful, useful, responsible and preeminent in the world. The unconditional support of the Genesis Foundation is special (The Genesis Foundation is a group of students leaders that Dr. Diaz has founded). I have taken the responsibility of caring for and maintaining the city sisterhood with Yakima by including the ongoing participation of La Salle University, The University of Latin America, The University of Michoacán of San Nicolás de Hidalgo (UMSNH), The National College of Technical Professional Education in Michoacán (CONALEP), Conservatory of Roses (Music Conservatory), the City Council of Morelia, the Congress of
the State of Michoacán, Civil Protection of the Municipality of Morelia, the Secretary of Public Security and the Government of the State of Michoacán.
Artists, academics, and citizens of both latitudes have been included in the sister city activities over time, in a permanent win-win exercise. Throughout this association process of over 21 years The Board of the Yakima Sister Cities Association Board and the Morelia Board, have remained from the beginning and up to the present moment, my “brothers and sisters”. Margarita Luera and Noé Gutiérrez have never lost their enthusiasm or the desire to keep Morelia and Yakima together. This dedication has been expressed through the donation, by the Yakima Committee, of fire trucks and firefighting equipment, orthopedic supplies , and wheelchairs. This doesn't even count the permanent promotion and speaking well of Morelia that the Yakima association carries out in the United States. The participation of members of the Yakama Nation deserves special mention. This prosperous Indian reservation has found similarities with the Purépecha Nation and aspires at some point to formalize a brotherhood association between two. Just a few days ago I received the painful news of the passing of Mathew Tomaskin, one of the most esteemed leaders of the Yakama Nation and a distinguished member of the Sister Cities Committee. This unfortunate event has led me to write these lines to remember him with love, respect, and gratitude in ways that evoke his warm receptions of us in the Yakima Valley and his visits to the capital of Michoacán, always attentive, smiling and cordial; a splendid host, and successful manager of actions for the benefit of his community. I am sure that he is in heaven organizing, even now, the reception for our future arrival without ceasing to include the music and dance that he loved so much. May these lines serve as a humble testimony of friendship for Mathew and as a public recognition to all those who selflessly add enthusiasm, work, and resources so that the sister cities program does not die.