SACRAMENTO, CA – Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) introduced Senate Concurrent Resolution 81 to make Nayarit a sister state and recognize the heritage of 350,000 Nayaritas who make their home in California.
The Pacific state of Nayarit is home to just 1 million people, and has a land mass 1/16th the size of California. But immigrants from Nayarit have contributed greatly to California’s culture and economy.
“California and Nayarit are connected by an ocean and the ceaseless energy of the more than 350,000 Nayaritas who have helped build the world’s sixth largest economy,” said Senator Ricardo Lara. “At a time when Mexican Americans are more vulnerable to racist political attacks than in decades, Californians of Nayarita descent are embracing their adopted state and their culture. We proudly show off that bicultural spirit every year in the Feria de Nayarit, a major national event draws people from across America.”
Three Californians of Nayarita heritage have served in the California Legislature: Sen. Lara, Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia, and Asm. Marco Firebaugh, who died in 2006 at age 40.
“I am proud to support Senator Lara’s efforts to recognize Nayarit, Mexico as one of California’s sister states. I have fond memories of visiting my mother’s ancestral town of Acaponeta, Nayarit,” said Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia (D-Coachella). “Much like our beloved Golden State, Nayarit offers a diverse terrain of landscapes and a variety of vibrant cultures greatly influenced by its magnificent native heritage. Now more than ever it is important to strengthen our bonds of goodwill and international cooperation with our neighboring country; for the mutual benefit of our respective economic and trade ventures as well as the students we share. This resolution is intended to help us achieve that goal, while honoring the vast Nayarita migrant community positively contributing to our society.”
Nayaritas living in California have contributed to our state’s vibrant immigrant-owned business economy, and Nayaritas have sponsored the Mexico Consulate on Wheels and the construction of meeting centers. Nayaritas also sent $399 million in remittances to their home state in 2015.
“Nayaritas have made a contribution to California far greater than our measure of the population, and through their success are strengthening the bonds between our two states,” said Nerida Vargas Villano of FENINE-USA, the National and International Federation of Nayaritas in the United States, which is the country’s oldest and largest Nayarita migrant organization. “I am proud of our Nayarita legislators for recognizing the strength of our two countries’ deep connection.”
Nayarit would be the 5th Mexican state to receive California sister state status, after Queretaro, Baja California Norte, Baja California Sur, and Jalisco.