National Hispanic Heritage Month Features Festivals

National HispaniGraphic signc Heritage Month recognizes Hispanic and Latino American heritage and culture. The month long celebration begins each year on September 15, the anniversary of independence of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Mexico, Chile and Belize also celebrate their independence days during this period and Columbus Day (Día de la Raza) is October 12.

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 starting on September 15 and ending on October 15. The month long celebration was enacted into law on August 17, 1988. The 2015 theme is “Honoring our Heritage.”

In keeping with the theme, there are several events taking place around the neighborhood, most free to attend. Check out the list below compiled by the Diversity and Inclusion Office for the City of Grand Rapids. For more information call 616‐234‐3390.

Hispanic Festival 2015 – September 11, 12, & 13, 2015  

girlCelebrate the diversity our region  has to offer with the Hispanic Festival benefiting the Hispanic Center of Western Michigan. The Festival features an exciting mix of culture, music and food from different Latin American countries with three days of stage performances, traditional and artisan wares, children’s activities and food vendors. Calder Plaza Downtown Grand Rapids. For more information check with the Hispanic Center of Western Michigan.

Fiesta Mexicana – September 18‐19, 2015 from 11am to 11pm

One of the largest and oldest festivals in the region. Fiesta Mexicana celebrates the Mexican community and has been celebrated for over 45 years. Calder Plaza Downtown Grand Rapids. For more information find details at http://mexican‐

maracasLatino Culture & Identity Lecture – September 23, 2015 at 7:00 pm  

Henry Muñoz III will present a lecture on Latino Culture and Identity as part of the Diversity Lecture Series, intended to give insight and understanding of multicultural issues to the West Michigan community, helping audiences consider perspectives other than their own, encouraging civil debate and promoting cultural understanding. Held at Fountain Street Church on 24 Fountain Street, Grand Rapids.

The West Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce meets every Tuesday from 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm at 1167 Madison Avenue SE, Suite 102, Grand Rapids, MI 49507 . Walk‐ins welcome or call 616‐452‐3960. Find more information at the  West Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce website.