Utah's Mexican-Americans were told to overcome adversity and make the dreams of democracy envisioned by Mexico's patriots part of their lives in the United States.

"If we overcome adversity, something positive can arise," Maria Ortiz, Utah Office of Hispanic Affairs, said during Midvale's Cinco de Mayo celebration Thursday night."We as Mexicans must strive to the democratic ideal. The things we brought with us from Mexico can be brought to fruition here," she said.

Ortiz's speech was one of several delivered during Cinco de Mayo celebrations in Utah. She said Hispanic-Americans can better understand themselves by looking at their history.

"Behind each act of adversity, something positive arises. In spite of the fall of the Aztec nation, something beautiful arose - the Mexican nation."

Cinco de Mayo, which translates as the "Fifth of May," is a Mexican holiday celebrating a Mexican army stand led by Gen. Ignacio Zaragoza against invading French in 1862.

In Midvale, people filled Main Street to listen to speeches, eat fajitas and burritos and enjoy mariachi band music. The city also officially forged a sister city relationship with Piedras Negras, in the Mexican state of Coahuila.

"Geographically we are neighbors. We are cousins as well. Now we are brothers and sisters," said Marco Antonio Tovar, Mexican consul in Salt Lake City.

Midvale Mayor Everett E. Dahl told those gathered that the sister city relationship will help in the exchange of cultures, help develop trade and help both peoples understand that they can work together.

Patricia Chavarria, Piedras Negras tourism secretary, and Claudia Cadena de Ortiz, a Coahuila representative, hailed the relationship as an opportunity for the cities' citizens and representatives to visit each other and strengthen ties.

In conjunction with the Cinco de Mayo celebration, more than 1,000 people gathered at the opening of Centro Civico Mexicano at 155 S. Sixth West.