A3 Monmouth Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month.JPG

Itemizer-Observer report

MONMOUTH — Events celebrating Hispanic Heritage are in full swing in Monmouth.

The city has and will host several activities celebrating and honoring the histories, cultures and contributions of Americans whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America during Hispanic Heritage Month, which spans Sept. 15 through Oct. 15.

As a partner to community members’ Hispanic Heritage Month campaign, the city of Monmouth is displaying banners in Main Street Park that honor the stories of area migrant and seasonal farm worker families.

Together with Oregon Child Development Coalition (OCDC), community members interviewed five local families involved with local agriculture.

Their stories and photos are shared on five public art displays at sites in Monmouth and Independence designed to highlight our shared history, educate and share information with our community.

Here are upcoming events observing Hispanic Heritage Month:

• Snacks, crafts and bilingual story time 11 a.m. to noon Oct. 9 at Independence Riverview Park Amphitheater

• The bilingual story walk in Gentle Woods Park

• The WOU Freedom Center (Werner Center, room 220) invites the Monmouth and Independence communities to a celebration from 6 to 8 p.m. on Oct. 15. There will be music, a gallery walk through campus, and hors d’oeuvres. Western Oregon University is close to being designated as a Hispanic Serving Institution, achieved when 25% of the student population is Hispanic. WOU’s goal is to be known as a Hispanic Success Institution.

• Continued local conversations about race on the history and untold history of Hispanic/Latino communities’ contributions in the U.S. and Oregon, and Hispanic/Latino/Mexican current issues in education, health care, criminal justice, and continued focus on farm workers.

These community events are possible through collaborations with the cities of Monmouth and Independence, WOU Freedom Center and OCDC.

Organizers ask that guests maintain social distancing and wear masks at these events.

The observation 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. It was enacted into law on Aug. 17, 1988.

The day of Sept. 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 Sept. 16 and Sept. 18, respectively. Also, Columbus Day or Día de la Raza, which is Oct. 12, falls within this 30-day period.

Learn more about Hispanic Heritage Month at https://www.hispanicheritagemonth.gov/about.

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