Hispanic Heritage Month officially kicked off Friday, Sept. 15 and to celebrate, Reno will be hosting cultural events throughout the month.
According to TIME, the celebration begins in the middle of the month as opposed to the beginning because El Salvador, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Honduras celebrate their independence on Sept. 15. Mexico, Chile and Belize celebrate their independence on Sept. 16, 18 and 21.
On Sept. 16, Wells Ave. celebrated Mexican Independence Day by hosting Fiesta on Wells. At this event, fiesta-goers visited booths, danced to music, watched performances and enjoyed the selection of foods offered at the event. Wells Ave. is a community that is heavily influenced by the Hispanic culture.
“There’s a lack of Latinx representation in our city and this was completely run by Latinx people, it was organized by the people for the people,” said Alejandra Hernández Chávez of Acting in Community Together In Organizing Northern Nevada. “I think it’s important to have something, especially in this area that is so populated with Latin folk, it’s important to have something that represents during a time that we should be celebrating our culture.”
According to the official Hispanic Heritage Month website, the month is dedicated to paying tribute to the generations of Hispanic Americans who have positively influenced and enriched our nation and society. Figures include Dolores Huerta, Cesar Chavez, Diego Rivera, Miguel Hidalgo, Frida Kahlo and more.
At Fiesta on Wells, Danna Brito assisted her mother in selling handmade jewelry and clothing that recognized Mexican painter, Frida Kahlo.
“America is a land based on immigrants and it’s important to show our culture and express it with everyone else,” Brito said. “My mom makes them and she also brought some things from Mexico. We have a lot of jewelry and painted materials that are all hand-made. It’s a way to support your local artists.”
Reno will also be hosting Fiesta Latin@! on Saturday, Sept. 23 at the BELIEVE sculpture downtown. The Reno community will be able to celebrate the Hispanic culture through music, food, and dance. At the end of the event, people will have the chance to march to the Aces Stadium for a Reno 1868 FC game. If the team wins the match against Portland Timbers 2, they will break the record for the most points won in United Soccer League. The prestigious third tier of American football.
As community members honor those that made their mark in Hispanic history, individuals work towards making their own.
“I am in law school currently in Sacramento studying immigration law,” Marco Lamas said. “Many of my clients come from a Latino background, I believe it’s good to give back to this community. Especially with what’s going on with all these immigration issues. I believe I should give back.”
Although Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated through food, music, and dance, it is important to recognize why the culture is recognized in the first place.
“I think it’s definitely important because so many people forget. I was a young immigrant here and I know it’s harder for first generation, second generation folks,” Hernández Chávez said. “It’s so important to know your culture because it’s a huge part of who you are. It always will be. Even if you don’t know about your culture it will be a part of you. It’s better to know about it than to have that mystery of who you are and what you stand for.”
Karolina Rivas can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter @karolinarrivas.