Mexican Consul General for Michigan González Saiffe chats during a reception in his honor Friday, Aug. 20. He also attended the International Festival of Holland while visiting the city. Andrea Goodell
Multiculturalism accepts many loyalties, Michigan Consul General for Mexico Fernando González Saiffe says.
González Saiffe visited Holland for the fourth time last week. He attended a West Michigan Chamber of Commerce reception and the International Festival of Holland.
“Now I come into this room and I have friends,”González Saiffe says. “It warms my heart to come to Holland and breathe this sense of inclusiveness. … The more we sit together, the more we know about each other and this is going to be a better world.”
The Mexican Consulate in Detroit facilitates relations between Mexico and Michigan in the political, economic, trade, and community realms.
Mexican nationals living in Michigan can love their new homeland without renouncing their heritage, González Saiffe says. Although someone grew up in Mexico and still roots for the hometown soccer team, he may hold a mortgage on a home in America, have children in local schools, or serving in the military.
“I see that as individuals we can have multiple loyalties that do not conflict with each other,” González Saiffe says. “When society accepts and enables multiculturalism then we are stronger, more united.”
The simple act of inviting the Mexican Consul speaks volumes about Holland, he says.
“Holland is an incredibly diverse community. We are a rich tapestry of people and cultures,” Mayor Nathan Bocks told the crowd at the reception Friday, Aug. 20.
“Regardless of who you are, we celebrate the value of all who call Holland home,” Bocks said later, pointing to the city’s comprehensive nondiscrimination ordinance passed last year by city council.
No community can live in a vacuum, González Saiffe says. Mexico did $60 billion in trade annually with the state of Michigan before the COVID-19 pandemic — behind only Texas and California.
“As a region we have to think more about the North American concept,” he says. “Canada, America, Mexico — we’re a powerhouse, bigger than the EU.”