Chrissie Dickerson Ramirez

 Chrissie Dickerson Ramirez 

Since the death of her husband, Macario Ramirez, last June, Chrissie Dickerson Ramirez has pledged to keep the Casa Ramirez Folkart Gallery at 241 W. 19th St. open with the same passion as when Macario founded the gallery 37 years ago.

While this year’s series of Casa Ramirez celebrations commemorating El Dia de los Niños (Children’s Day) on Friday and Cinco de Mayo from Saturday through May 8 will be unlike any in the gallery’s history, she believes it will be true to Macario’s intent, a collaborative effort to promote literacy and espouse the “rich cultural heritage” of Mexico.

“We look at the time as a time to recognize and honor the culture that comes from Mexico, Texas and the Southwest, from Mexican-Americans,” Dickerson Ramirez said. “You could say one of his goals was to continue to bring it to people’s attention and to recognize it and don’t forget it.”

Beginning Friday, Casa Ramirez will host a series of virtual book readings on Facebook Live featuring friends and staff of Casa Ramirez who will read from their favorite cultural children’s book and discuss its significance. All of the activities are family-friendly and free to attend.

The books will have a special focus on elements of Latino culture ranging from the history of Cinco de Mayo and folklore to books about food and Lotería, a Mexican bingo game.

Casa Ramirez will also have a Cinco de Mayo exhibit with print materials explaining the history of the famous battle of the Mexican Army against France at the Battle of Puebla in 1862.

All of the readings will begin at 11:30 a.m., the first of which is set for Friday and the others to follow on May 2 and May 4-8.

Dickerson Ramirez will host the first reading, with an overview of El Dia de los Niños and an emphasis on the importance of play and laughter.

Martha Almaguera, a staff member at Casa Ramirez, will read "¡Hola Jalapeno!” a popular title Dickerson Ramirez said they have carried for several years.

“It’s a fun rhyme on food, and we’ve sold a lot of them over the years,” Dickerson Ramirez said. “Martha has several children and she’s the cook in her family, so it’s a good one for her to pick out.”

The subjects of the remaining book selections vary widely, including a folk tale, a book about food, shapes and colors, and a Frida Kahlo book aimed at toddlers.

From noon-3 p.m. Saturday, Jesus Lozano and Maria Lozano of Bossa II will serenade Casa Ramirez and its visitors outside on the sidewalk to kick off their Cinco de Mayo celebrations with live music.

The duo will also provide entertainment for the nearby Local Love Market, which takes place on the first Saturday of every month, and a Facebook Live stream of the performance will be available at 1:30 p.m.

Attendees can email casa.ramirez@att.net or call 713-880-2420 with questions about the events.

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