Lorain opens Hispanic Heritage Month celebrations at Lakeview Park
By Ingrid Marie Rivera, La Prensa Correspondent
LORAIN: National Hispanic Heritage Month has begun. Lorain opened its celebrations near Lake Erie with the 3rd annual Lorain County National Hispanic Heritage Month Fest Celebration, Sunday, Sept. 18, 2011.
Organized by Richard Romero, magazine publisher, editor and writer, and his team, the festival paid tribute to all Latino cultures with a great variety of ethnic cuisine, music, dance, art and all culture. Romero said roughly 1,500 people attended the festival Sunday at Lorain’s Lakeview Park.
“Everybody knows when it’s Black History Month,” Romero said “But many Latinos do not know when it's Hispanic Heritage Month. That's the reason I do this every year. It’s our month to highlight the great contributions of our community and remember the great leaders who made a difference in this country. From folks in the Military to education to entertainment.”
Romero added “It's tough to do but it’s real important. We try to do it on one day, a Sunday and we try to start at a time after most people have gone to church.”
Photos by Richard Romero
National Hispanic Heritage Month begins Sept. 15 and runs until Oct. 15 every year, and celebrates contributions by Latinos whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, Central and South America.
The dates were selected because they coincide with a number of Latin American countries’ dates of independence. The observation began in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson. It was expanded into that 30-day period by President Ronald Reagan in 1988, and was enacted into law on August 17, 1988.
September 15 was chosen as the start date because it is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Plus, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September18, respectively. Also, Columbus Day or Día de la Raza, on October 12, also falls within this 30 day period.
The festival featured an art gallery displaying artwork for sale by Mexican and Puerto Rican artists.
Romero said the festival is funded by sponsorships and art sales.
Food was provided by the Puerto Rican Home and the Mexican Mutual Society.
Romero said because he wants to help ethnic clubs survive in the area, the ethnic clubs are not charged, and they are able to collect 100 percent of the proceeds of their sales for their own fundraisers.
This year, Romero joined forces with the Puerto Rican Club’s leaders, and he provided the cost for his event and their event’s entertainment.
Entertainment this year included Mexican dance group Alma de Mexico, and the Puerto Rican dance group from Cleveland’s Julia de Burgos Center, Isla del Encanto; and included musical groups, Boys de Merengüe; Grupo Los Maximos, a reggaeton group from Lorain; Justo Saborit, a Latin Jazz Salsa band; and Hiram Y Su Mambo Swing, that played merengüe, bachata, salsa, and even songs in English.
Romero said a hit with the crowd was the song “Puerto Rico,” by Grupo Los Maximos, their original song inspired by the island's people and struggles.
“They wrote it after they talked about what's going on in Puerto Rico, what the island needs, and that those on the mainland should not forget about the island. The song says don't forget the people and don't forget your culture,” Romero said.
The Latino Heritage Festival in Lorain mostly spotlighted the Mexican and Puerto Rican communities, but Romero said he is looking to further include the other Latino cultures in the future. Romero asks anyone representing other Latino cultures to contact him to plan for next year, he said.
“A lot of people don't have the opportunity to go to Puerto Rico or Mexico, so let's bring the culture to them,” Romero said.
He said he is grateful for the MetroParks, overseeing Lakeview Park, and allowing him to use their venue for the Hispanic Heritage month celebrations.
“We, Latinos, need to support these events when they happen,” Romero said “The Hispanic community needs to have events at places as beautiful as this, as the Lake. If we have more Latinos from other Latino cultures here next year, it will be an opportunity to attract tourism.”
Happy Independence Day! ¡Feliz Día de la Independencia!
Sept. 15: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua!
Sept. 16: Mexico!
Sept. 18: Chile!
¡Felicidades! Que viva la raza! Que viva los hispanos y latinos!
In honor of Mexico, here is part of the Mexican National Anthem:
Mexicanos, al grito de guerra
El acero aprestad y el bridón;
y retiemble en sus centros la tierra
Al sonoro rugir del cañón.
Ciña oh patria! tus sienes de oliva
De la Paz el arcángel divino,
Que en el cielo tu eterno destino
Por el dedo de Dios se escribió.
Más si osare un extraño enemigo
Profanar con su planta tu suelo,
Piensa, oh patria querida ,que el cielo
Un soldado en cada hijo te dio.
Guerra, guerra sin tregua al que intente
De la patria manchar los blasones!
Guerra, guerra! Los patrios pendones
En las olas de sangre empapad.
Guerra, guerra! En el monte, en el valle
Los cañones horrísonos truenen
Y los ecos sonoros resuenen
Con las voces de
Mexicans, at the cry of war,
prepare the steel and the steed,
and may the earth shake at its core
to the resounding roar of the cannon.
Gird, oh country, your brow with olive
the divine archangel of peace,
for your eternal destiny was written
in the heavens by the hand of God.
But if some strange enemy should dare
to profane your ground with his step,
think, oh beloved country, that heaven
has given you a soldier in every son.
War, war without truce to any who dare
to tarnish the country's coat-of-arms!
War, war! Take the national pennants
and soak them in waves of blood.
War, war! In the mountain, in the valley,
the cannons thunder in horrid unison
and the resonant echoes
cry out Union,