TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - Every year Hispanics and Latinos alike around the country celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month between September 15 to October 15. Two organizations in Tyler are bringing light to the contributions of local Hispanic business leaders and students, The Hispanic Business Alliance and Hispanic Professionals of Tyler.
Americans observe Hispanic Heritage Month by celebrating the histories, culture and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America, according to hispanicheritagemonth.gov.
The Hispanic Business Alliance hosts The Hispanic Achievers and Business Leaders Awards every year since 2007 and this year is no different. They are just taking a different route due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Right now, during the pandemic and Hispanic Heritage Month we want our community to support each other,” said Nancy Rangel, President of the Hispanic business Alliance in Tyler.
According to the United states Department of Agriculture, in 1968 President Lyndon Johnson started Hispanic Heritage Week and that was later expanded to a 30-day period by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 and was enacted into law August 17, 1988.
“It’s very important to support each other because this year we have all had hardships and obstacles so we are asking that you go visit your local small business, your local hair salon, your local mechanic, your local bakery,” said Rangel.
Tomorrow on October 21, the Hispanic business Alliance will host its first Virtual Luncheon due to the changes that come with the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We want to invite all of you to contact us because we are going to carry out The Hispanic Achievers and Business Leaders Awards this event is held annually to recognize all the Hispanic businesses that have been successful in our community,” said Rangel.
One reason that Hispanic Heritage Month starts on September 15 is because it is the anniversary of the independence for Latin American countries from the Spanish Monarchy on this date Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua all became sovereign nations. Mexico and Chile also celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September18.
“Hispanic Heritage Month is important to me because it highlights the many contributions Hispanic Americans have made and continue to make to this wonderful country. Hispanic Heritage is part of the fabric of American history,” said Nick Pesina, Attorney and Community Leader.
The day of September 15 is significant because it is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September18, respectively. Also, Columbus Day or Día de la Raza, which is October 12, falls within this 30 day period.
Another organization in Tyler that is making in impact with the Hispanic community is HPAT, Hispanic professionals association of Tyler.
One thing the organization is doing is putting a focus on our community by hosting an art exhibit this week on October 22 at 6 p.m. at Workhub in Tyler to celebrate the creative aspects of the Latino culture and to celebrate our students.
“With so many jobs new jobs being created around graphic design visual aesthetics this is a great opportunity to let our youth know it’s possible to be creative and successful,” said Martin Orrostieta, Board Member of the Hispanic Professionals Association of Tyler.
The organization is celebrating by exhibiting and showing off our local high school student’s talents through their very first “Dia De Los Muertos” Art Exhibit night.
“Hispanic heritage month is a rich tradition of which gives us a sense of pride of the culture we represent and as representatives, we want to showcase the beauty our culture holds,” said Elva Estrada, Board Member of the Hispanic Professionals Association of Tyler.
This event will provide an opportunity for local talent to be recognized and awarded on a community level through their art exhibitions.
“The art exhibit is about bringing our local talent together to help showcase our East Texas students talent through this unique Hispanic tradition,” said Estrada.
This period called “National Hispanic Heritage Month” will allow students to showcase and reflect on the cultural significance that Hispanics and Latinos bring to the table and it also allows students to get in touch with their culture and roots for at least a month.
“We celebrate Latino-American history; its portrait of sounds, colors, tastes, and the unique stories of our different countries and what it means to strive for our best while lifting our loved ones and our communities,” said Octavio Téllez, Board Member of the Hispanic Professionals Association of Tyler.
Both organizations are excited about their upcoming events and they urge the community to continue to support your students, friends, family, and local business leaders that make up the Hispanic Latino community in East Texas.
“I have the utmost respect for the communities of East Texas for the numerous proactive approaches at cultural awareness and for positively embracing diverse cultures and heritages. As an educator and as President of Tyler Junior College, I remain committed to doing our best to serve all students. While a short answer may be that we are a public institution with open access, at TJC we clearly know why we do what we do, and a much more powerful reason for us is that it is the right and wise thing to do,” said Dr. Juan E. Mejia, President & CEO of Tyler Junior College.