Celebrating Hispanic Heritage
Although it was one of the wettest days the area has seen in months, Saturday's skies couldn't dampen the collective spirit at Woodburn's Hispanic Heritage celebration Sept. 18.
When the rain clouds opened up mid-afternoon, the event poured on the crescendo as Hispanic soldiers from the Oregon National Guard marched into the Downtown Plaza bearing the U.S. colors, followed by a colorful Latino contingent with the Mexican banner.
The anthems of both countries were played.
Woodburn Community Relations Manager Maricela Guerrero, a key organizer for the event, said in years prior to the pandemic it had been a longer celebration, running through much of the weekend. It celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month, Sept. 15 through Oct. 15, and Mexican Independence Day, which is officially Sept. 16.
Several horseback riders accompanied by youngsters rode down 1st Street bearing the national flags and the Oregon State flag for the ceremony.
Other Hispanic Heritage Month celebrations featured traditional cultural dancing and performances by Woodburn High School's Mariachi Band.
Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste (PCUN) also had a presence, offering an array of instructive and explanatory materials that included information regarding COVID-19 vaccines and safety.
Event canopies were adequate to keep the gathering reasonably dry throughout, even during the heaviest downpour. An open Metropolis added another dry option with a variety foods and fixings, of which many took advantage.
Big-screen TVs and appetites drew many inside where restaurateurs and operators kept busy; one vendor even single-handedly operated two establishments at once, while also stepping outside and up to the mic to address the official ceremonial proceedings when appropriate.
Cellphone recordings of the colorful and melodic activities were ubiquitous in the plaza and down 1st Street as the horsemen rode north, following the color-guard ceremonies, bearing the flags and leading chants of "Viva Mexico!" and "Viva Estados Unidos!"
Hispanic Heritage history
Celebrations of Hispanic Heritage began in 1968 by President Lyndon Johnson and were expanded further in 1988 when President Ronald Reagan extended it to a full month. It celebrates the histories and cultures of U.S. citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, Caribbean regions and Central and South America.
According to the National Hispanic American Heritage website:
"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."
When the city of Woodburn officially proclaimed Hispanic Heritage month at its Sept. 13 meeting, the proclamation noted that "Woodburn's Hispanic, Latinx and Indigenous communities now constitute 57% of our population, including leaders, policymakers, educators, students, health care professionals, military, public safety, the trades, business leaders and entrepreneurs actively involved in our community and in mentoring our next generation.
"... The State of Oregon and the City of Woodburn dedicate ourselves to working together to address the challenges that still face Hispanic, Latinx, and Indigenous Oregonians in equity and access to the prosperity of Oregon."
For more photos of Woodburn's 2021 Hispanic Heritage celebration, visit the Woodburn Independent Facebook page.
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