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Hispanic Heritage Month at La Voz

Por Mariel Fiori
September 2018
U.S. Congress established Hispanic Heritage Month in 1988, a month that we have since celebrated every year. Hispanic Heritage month begins on September 15th because this day marks the anniversary of independence for Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. The five Central American countries share this day, which marks their separation from the Spanish Monarchy, the ruling entity that bound Latin America with its dominant language, Spanish. Mexico and Chile also celebrate their independence dates in September, on the 16th and 18th, respectively. In case these momentous historical events were not enough, there is another important date which finds itself in the midst of Hispanic Heritage Month, the Encounter of Two Worlds, aka Columbus Day. October 12th, 1492, in fact, marked the beginning of the theft, oppression and massacre of the millions of peoples already living on this continent.
As mandated by Congress (and previously by president Lyndon Johnson, who in 1968 created Hispanic Heritage Week), during this month we celebrate the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America and South America. In all the richness of these cultures there is much to celebrate. Yet despite the many contributions that we bring to our country, the media and our society at large continue to ignore and worse, make invisible this segment of our population. This a serious issue, given that Hispanics now make up almost 18% of the US population, more than 58 million people (including Hispanics of first, second, third, fourth generation and more). In other words, like it or not, almost 1 in every 5 US citizens is Latino.

Here at La Voz, month after month we celebrate the Latino histories, cultures and contributions to this country. For example, this month in the Arts Corner we feature Mexican sculptor and director of Unison, Alexandra Baer. The majority of our contributors are immigrants, first generation Hispanics who write with passion and zest to bring you the best information -- like Tamara Gruszko who invites families to visit our local petting zoos; like Hugo Jule, who explains the latest on electric cars; like Dora Inés Gross García who this month writes about sexual identity; or like Cristina Brusca, who reminds us about the influence of Spanish language in the history of the American Southwest.

The cover of this month’s issue is also an homage, but the other way around. The cover of La Voz is dedicated to the 200 grandmothers who undertook a long voyage to make public their indignation against the policies of family separation at the US border. A separation that should be clearly named for what it is: institutional terrorism. Also, this separation does not only happen on the southern border but also in our beautiful Hudson Valley, as I mentioned here last month. The caravan of grandmothers, known as Grannies Respond (Abuelas Responden) left Beacon, New York for McAllen, Texas in August of this year. My colleague Antonio Flores-Lobos, acting as correspondant for La Voz en Radio Kingston, followed them closely on their journey. The central page of this month’s magazine is a chronicle telling that story.

Those who have followed us for a while may already know that La Voz does not end with this monthly magazine, neither its in print or online version, nor does it end with its daily Spanish radio program on Radio Kingston (La Voz, Monday through Friday, 10am  to noon). In fact, our work continues beyond these outlets and we continue celebrating our Latino culture as much as we can, and as often as we can. As you will see in this month’s Resource Guide, there are many upcoming events and activities which I will be attending as a panelist. And that’s not even counting anything we have planned for October or November!

If you like what you find in these pages, please, don’t keep it all to yourself, share it! Life is too short to keep all the good things to ourselves, so take your read copy and pass it on to a friend. And if you have comments, ideas, suggestions, articles, opinions, testimonies or anything else to share with your fellow La Voz readers, please write to us at [email protected].

Staying together each month is already a celebration, whether Congress mandates it or not. We are here and we’re here to stay.

Mariel Fiori
Managing Editor
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La Voz, Cultura y noticias hispanas del Valle de Hudson



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