Massachusetts Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month through October 15

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(Photograph: Courtesy of IBA-Inquilinos Boricuas en Accion)

Massachusetts is celebrating the 26th annual Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15-October 15, 2014, with events taking place that recognize the contributions and experiences of Latino constituencies around the Commonwealth.

Governor Deval Patrick issued an official proclamation for Hispanic Heritage Month which he presented to community leaders at a special event held at the State House on October 1. There was a display of Hispanic artists and musical expression, and an opportunity for networking to continue the advancement and collaboration in leadership roles.

Speaking on the theme of the gathering, “Civic Reflections: Promoting Diversity in Leadership,” Governor Patrick talked about the importance of community that is the hallmark of Hispanics and other ethnic communities, adding, “If we keep that sense of community alive, if we make it an integral part of the work we are doing in and between government and our citizens, I’m confident our best days are ahead.”

The Patrick Administration has recognized the needs of this emerging community and continues to advance a range of social and public policies that have positively impacted the economic, social and political climate of Latinos. Governor Patrick’s proclamation recognizes that the nations of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Mexico and Chile, all celebrate their independence between September 15 and September 18.

A number of other celebrations have taken place around the Commonwealth. In Springfield, the Massachusetts Latino Chamber of Commerce held its 10th annual Hispanic Heritage Gala, as a way of recognizing “outstanding entrepreneurs, corporations and government leaders for their accomplishments and contributions to the Latino Business community,” said Carlos Gonzalez, founder and president of the Chamber.

In Boston, El Mundo newspaper hoisted its annual Hispanic Heritage Breakfast, and honored Boston Marathon hero Carlos Arrendondo and his wife Melida Arrenondo. Jose Masso III, host of Boston’s popular radio show, Con Salsa, was given the Lifetime Achievement Award for his influence in promoting Hispanic culture in Massachusetts for over four decades.

Last month, the New England Patriots Charitable Fund presented its Hispanic Heritage Leadership Award to Dr. Vanessa Calderon-Rosado, Ph.D., CEO of the IBA-Inquilinos Boricuas en Accion, for her dedication serving and giving back to the Latino community.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau data, there are 53 million Hispanics in the U.S. In Massachusetts, over 10% of the state’s 6.6 million residents identify themselves as Hispanic or Latino. The Latino population is rapidly growing; as such social issues similar to other minority communities are prevalent.

Find out more about National Hispanic Heritage Month by visiting the United States Library of Congress.

Finally, if you’re looking to experience the best of Latin music in Massachusetts, check out the Holyoke Latin Jazz Festival, taking place on Friday, October 10 at the War Memorial Building in Holyoke.