- Kenton Tsoodle
Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month
Hispanic Heritage Month started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period starting on Sept. 15 and ending Oct. 15.
It’s a time to recognize and celebrate the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.
The 2020 census shows that in Oklahoma, those of Hispanic origins make up approximately 12% of our state’s population and in Oklahoma County, about 19.3% identify as having Hispanic or Latino heritage. Understanding our history, accomplishments and heritage informs how we develop our city and strengthens our cultural fabric. Over the coming weeks, Oklahoma City has several ways to learn and celebrate our Hispanic culture.
Oklahoma City Community College Capitol Hill Center, 325 SW 25th St., is hosting the Fiestas de Las Americas Art Exhibition. The exhibition features artwork by local Latino artists and culminates with the Fiesta de las Américas Celebration with a parade, street festival and events on Oct. 1 in Historic Capitol Hill.
On the evening of Oct. 7, the free Hispanic Fiesta will take place at Scissortail Park and feature a celebration of the Hispanic culture representing multiple countries through music, dance, food and a vendor showcase.
On Oct. 21, the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum will host Todos Somos Americanos. We Are All Americans. This event features a celebration of the rich and varied cultures of North, South and Central America with musical performances and dance from local cultural groups representing countries of origin from all over the Americas.
The Alliance for Economic Development of Oklahoma City is also proud to be a sponsor of the StitchCrew Latino accelerator, a small business program using ARPA relief funds that teaches business owners startup mechanics, financial fundamentals, growth strategies, marketing, and capital access. The curriculum will be tailored to focus on the specific needs of Latino-owned businesses. Local, Latino-owned businesses will be able to apply on the StitchCrew website (www.stitchcrew.com) when the application opens later this year.
In Oklahoma City, we have many ways to honor the heritage and contributions of our Hispanic friends and neighbors. I encourage you to participate, learn and invite others to engage.