Organización Regional de Oaxaca (ORO) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting and preserving indigenous Oaxacan culture in California. ORO has been an important influence on the growing Oaxacan community in Los Angeles for the past 30 years.
The organization’s biggest event is Festival Guelaguetza, an annual celebration of Oaxacan culture that consists of music, dancing, and food. What started as a basketball tournament among friends has grown into a two-day festival with numerous collaborators that gathers over 20,000 people each year. The festival extends its vibrant, family-oriented culture to visitors and expects nothing in return but joy and celebration.
For the past four years, ORO has also organized the Calenda Parade as part of the festivities. The parade travels from Crenshaw Blvd to Normandie along Pico, showcasing traditional jarabes and dance that is infectious.
Los Angeles hosts the largest population of Oaxacans outside of Oaxaca City, where they established in neighborhoods like Pico Union since the 1970s. Isai Pasos, the President of ORO, is a cultural organizer for the Oaxacan community. Pasos embodies Oaxacan pride, working to bring together different regions and indigenous groups of Oaxaca to showcase their traditions and talent with the platform of ORO.
The name “Guelaguetza” comes from the Zapotec word “guendalezaa” meaning “exchange or offering.”