Courtesy of Evelin del Prado
By: Norma Sorto, Contributing Writer
In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, the first-ever “Parade of Latino Nations & Community” was held in Baltimore on Sept. 29.
Hispanic Heritage Month is the period from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 in the United States to recognize the contributions of Hispanic and Latinx Americans to the country’s history, heritage, and culture. For most Latinx families, celebrating their traditional culture is not difficult. For them it’s a lifestyle that is deeply embedded in their soul. However, celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month is an important opportunity to learn about the history of their ancestors and Latinx contributions to U.S. history. It is important for Hispanic and Latinx Americans to be represented because it allows the Latinx community to feel connected with their history and culture.
The sounds of Latin music filled Highlandtown, a town neighboring Patterson Park, with a growing Latinx community. Nuestras Raíces Inc, a non-profit community cultural organization, came together to celebrate the Latinx culture by coordinating 40 folk dance groups, marching bands, schools, 50 rodeo horses and decorated floats to represent the Latinx culture.
Latinx students from Latin American Student Organization (LASO), a student organization at Towson University, were there to represent both their school and their heritage. The event was easily accessible for students via a charter bus.
Throughout the parade, students were heard yelling “Latinos get degrees,” a statement that shows how prideful TU students are about pursuing a college level education.
Ana Reyes, a sophomore at Towson University, was proud to see her school participate in the parade to represent the Latinx culture.
“I’m very happy about that,” said Reyes. “It shows that there’s a lot of progress going on in schools especially a PWI (predominantly white institution) and it shows that we are being embraced and that we are being heard and seen.”
Vanessa Gonzalez-Wright, Assistant Director of Student Development & Diversity at Towson University, coordinated the event.
“I was really excited, and it made me happy because a lot of people came up to us and mentioned how grateful they were that a university was there representing college students,” said Gonzalez-Wright. “A lot of people in that community have young children, young families and for them to see college students that look like them that were Latinx was really awesome and you can tell that people were happy that we were there.”
After the parade, there was a community party in Patterson Park, where local vendors came out to support the community by selling food from different countries, traditional clothing, jewelry, and artworks. There were different latin cuisine including pupusas (a traditional El Salvador dish), tacos, panes de pollo, elote (corn), and etc.
“I do hope to see another one,” said Ashley Compean, a junior at Towson University. “It’s the first one and it’s also a learning experience. So for next year, we can find ways to improve it, to make it better, to incorporate new things, and more fun.”