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La Paloma Sabanera Coffee House and Bookstore
an article by Stacy Potter

A sense of community and the promotion of diversity are essential in creating a culture of peace. Recently, I visited La Paloma Sabanera Coffee House and Bookstore located at 405 Capitol Avenue in Hartford, Connecticut, with my class from Saint Joseph College. As we pulled up to the building on a snowy day in January, I could see the silver body of a pigeon, which I would later learn is a Paloma Sabanera, poking out from behind the sign of the neighboring Jamaican Restaurant. And nestled in the Frog Hollow section of Hartford—home to many of the city’s Latinos—could not be a more fitting location for a café where those who fear losing their cultural identity or are interested in learning more about other cultures can come and build friendships and share in local events. Upon entrance into the cozy and quaint café and bookstore, I was instantly engulfed by the delicious aroma of coffee from Puerto Rico, bookcases filled with books written in Spanish, and vibrant pieces of artwork hanging on the wall. Immediately we were greeted by co-owner Luis Edgardo Cotto and ushered upstairs to a gathering place where he would share with us the story of his life, the café and bookstore, and the visions that he has for the future.

The Cotto family moved several times within the United States and Puerto Rico throughout Luis’ childhood, but made the decision to stay in Connecticut when he was in middle school in an effort to create stability within the children’s lives. It was the dream of his sister to one day open a bookstore that would primarily stock books written by and about Latino authors and subjects. The dream became a reality when the siblings opened La Paloma Sabanera, which, in addition to being one of three of Hartford’s independent bookstores, also serves fair trade, organic coffee from Puerto Rico, Central and South America and hosts events for local artists and authors.

While it is evident that the owners of La Paloma Sabanera take pride in their cultural heritage, they also strive to create a sense of community for Hartford’s socially minded who are seeking a place to discuss issues and interact with others.

You can visit La Paloma Sabanera online at


Question(s) related to this article:

How important is community development for a culture of peace,

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Latest reader comment:

Community plays a important role in developing culture peace. We should promote our cultural values by interacting with each other and making these values part of our daily lives. A good example of this would be raising our children according to beliefs and values which are important for us and our cultural peace. We can also promote cultural peace by making small commuinties within big community and share different ideas and bring new ones in.

This report was posted on January 15, 2004.