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COVID-19 forces change to Hispanic Heritage Month

By La Prensa Staff


The current COVIC – 19 pandemic has forced agencies and organizations to change the way their celebrations of Hispanic Heritage Month will be conducted this year (and possibly beyond)—or even cancel their events.

For 20 years, there was a Latino Scholarship Night with the Toledo Mud Hens; this year, it was scheduled for August 16. Like much of baseball and other entertainment events, it was cancelled.

Another example includes this year’s edition of Gritofest and a kickoff celebration at Promenade Park originally scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 12 by Adelante—canceled because of COVID-19. That celebration would have included a César Chávez Humanitarian Award ceremony for this year’s recipients.

“The pandemic is in control. It was decided to cancel this year’s event due to the risks associated with large gatherings during the pandemic,” explained Sabina Elizondo Serratos, Adelante executive director. “COVID 19 is still present. However, there is still discussion on the actual awards selection without an ‘event.’”

In Cleveland and Lorain, many events were cancelled. But some went virtual, such as Tri-C’s annual Jazz Fest and the 44th Cleveland International Film Festival (CIFF).  El Centro, likewise, intends on having its annual Gala event, but over the internet (see page 10).

In Toledo, the 31st annual Diamanté Awards event will go on as planned, but in a ‘virtual’ format on Thursday, Sept. 17, 6 to 7:30 p.m. The awards have been “reimagined,” according to the Latino Alliance event organizers—“to recognize individuals and an organization for their outstanding achievements and service to Northwest Ohio” during the pandemic. The online ceremony will still serve to raise scholarship funds for Latino youth who want to attend a college or university in the region to further their education.

Scholarship winners also will be announced via Zoom with awards to the University of Toledo, Bowling Green State University, Lourdes University, and Owens Community College. Tickets are $50 each and available for purchase online at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/2020-diamante-awards-tickets-112897308890.

The University of Toledo is hosting a series of virtual events to mark Hispanic Heritage Month, including livestreamed events locally and from across the country.


UT also will host a virtual forum Friday, Oct. 9, 1 p.m. to discuss the history and implications of the use of the term Latinx. Dr. Jorge Chinea, director of the Center for Latino/a & Latino American Studies at Wayne State University, will provide historical context of the term Latinx and help lead a discussion on its implications. Other UT online events can be found here: www.utoledo.edu/studentaffairs/omss/history_and_heritage/hispanic_heritage_month.html.


Bowling Green State University now recognizes HHM as Latina/o/x Heritage Month and will host an online kickoff Tuesday, Sept. 15, 20230, 7 p.m., Spoken Word with Carlos Andrés Gómez. Gómez is a Colombian American poet, speaker, actor, and author of award-winning poetry Fractures and Higito, as well as the memoir Man Up: Reimagining Modern Manhood.

National Welcoming Week also falls within Hispanic Heritage Month and several Toledo-area organizations are teaming up to host a virtual event on Wednesday, Sept. 16, 6 to 7:30 p.m. Women of Toledo will host the event on their Zoom page in conjunction with Welcome Toledo Lucas County (Welcome TLC) and the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library. The event will be a conversation exploring “the state of belonging” and a connection to one another in the community. Event details and tickets are available at www.womenoftoledo.org.

Similar events are being held in communities across the U.S., aimed at bringing together immigrants, refugees, expatriates, and U.S.-born residents to raise awareness of the benefits of welcoming everyone—including new Americans. Advocates say it’s more important than ever to stand up for refugees and immigrants alike.

The Austin, Texas-based Emma S. Barrientos Mexican-American Cultural Center will host its annual Viva México celebration on Wednesday, Sept. 16, 6 to 9 p.m. The lively virtual celebration will be live streamed free on Youtube, Facebook, and Twitter and include music and dance performances by local artists. There will also be a Netflix watch party Thursday, Sept. 24, 5:30 p.m., of a 2020 documentary called Mucho Mucho Amor: The Legend of Walter Mercado, a film about the life and career of Walter Mercado, one of the most influential and important astrologists in Latin America and the world. 

The Distinguished Hispanic Ohioan Awards (DHO), usually held in late October by OCHLA, won’t be held this year due to the coronavirus. Instead, the Ohio Commission on Hispanic/Latino Affairs will “acknowledge leaders in the community who are doing an outstanding job during the response to COVID-19.” A date and details for how the celebration will be held are still in the discussion stages. But OCHLA leaders are clear that this initiative won’t replace the DHO Awards Gala, which the agency hopes to celebrate again in 2021.

EDITOR’S NOTE: National Hispanic Heritage Month celebrates the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.

The observation started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week and was expanded in 1988 to cover a 30-day period. September 15 is significant because it is the anniversary of independence for Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September 18.



Copyright © 1989 to 2020 by [LaPrensa Publications Inc.]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 09/08/20 15:48:00 -0700.




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