If you have traveled around America, you may have noticed that you sometimes find Cubans in places you least expect. One of those places is Kentucky, which happens to have the 12th largest Cuban population in the U.S. With Hispanic Heritage Month kicking off, the Cubans in Kentucky are celebrating their heritage.
Celebrating Cuban culture in Kentucky
Hispanic Heritage month started on Sept. 15.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 4.3% of the Kentucky’s population identifies as Hispanic or Latino.
It’s hard to miss La Bodeguita de Mima—a vibrant yellow, house-looking building in Louisville’s NULU district.
“The name is divided into two parts, Mima, which means mom back in Cuba. That’s the way sons call their moms ‘Hey Mima, come bring me some milk’ and La Bodeguita because of a very traditional Cuban bar,” Elena Paifer, says.
La Bodeguita de Mima opened its doors in 2020—about a year and a half before Paifer moved from Cuba to Louisville.
“And as soon as I stepped in here, I was like ‘I’m back home!’ Like suddenly, the ambience, the atmosphere, how welcoming people are here. It makes you feel like you’re in Cuba,” Paifer says.
Since the 2021 census, the Cuban population in Louisville has increased 1%.
According to the Migration Policy Institute, Jefferson County has the 12th largest Cuban population in the country, with just under 12,000 migrants.
Paifer says it seems like the word on Louisville travels quickly.
“The conditions sound so good. You know, we’re very talkative—extremely talkative. We’re like ‘Hey, life here is amazing’ and we constantly talk about how happy we are here,” Paifer says.
Colin Triplett, Catholic Charities resettlement director says the employment availability and welcoming nature of Louisville help to attract Cuban migrants.
“It’s not a gigantic city. You know it’s relatively geographically small. I think a lot of people that come here want to start fresh, start new and they’re very proud to be living here in Kentucky,” Triplett says.
Continue reading HERE.