City Kicks off Hispanic Heritage Month on Diez y Seis de Septiembre
SAN ANGELO, TX — Flanked by the Lake View High School Mariachi Band led by Rosendo Ramos and two folklorico dancers, Dr. Flor Leos Madero, an associate professor of communication and mass media at Angelo State University, stressed that Hispanic, and particularly Mexican culture, was an important and integral piece of San Angelo’s fabric. Recognizing Hispanic Heritage Month on September 16 carries with it more importance because Diez y Seis de Septeimbre is when Mexico celebrates its independence from Spain.
It was on this day in 1810 that a Catholic priest, Father Hidalgo, declared war on the Spanish. The fight for independence in Mexico centered around the rights of the Criolos (or Creoles). These were Mexicans of Spanish ancestry but born in the New World without the same privileges of those born in Europe. The armed conflict lasted more than a decade, until September 27, 1821.
Celebrations of Mexican culture continue through the middle of October.
“What does this mean in 2019?” Dr. Madero asked. “As Latinos we have a responsibility to honor our traditions and culture.”
Part of this, she said, was to believe passionately in Mexico’s independence. One way to continue the fight for independence is through education, she said. “We must educate our children so that higher education is the standard in our families,” she said. Madero included vocational as well as college education in her definition of higher education.
“With knowledge comes power,” she said.
The United States began observing Hispanic Heritage Month in 1968 under President Lyndon B. Johnson as Hispanic Heritage Week and later became Hispanic Heritage Month. The 30-day period from September 15 to October 15 represents centuries of rich art, music, and values. Annual celebrations and festivities commemorate this shared heritage and continue across the country.
Hispanics in San Angelo have contributed greatly to the community. Among the Hispanic leaders at the City of San Angelo throughout the years were:
City Council members:
- 1952, 1962, 1964 - Armando Figueroa
- 1973 - 1977 Cato Cedillo
- 1978-1983 – Maria Cardenas
- 1984-1987, 1992-1995, 2006-2007 - Daniel Cardenas
- 1988 - 1991 – Gary Acevedo
- 1996 - 2005 – Joe Holguin
- 1999-2000 – Richard Bastardo
- 2003 - 2009 - Mayor J. W. Lown
- 2005 – 2008 – Emilio Perez Jimenez
- 2008 - 2015 – Johnny Silvas
- 2015 – present – Lucy Gonzales
- Police Chief
- 2004 - 2016 - Tim Vasquez
- City Manager
- 2005 - 2012 - Harold Dominguez
- 2012 - present - Daniel Valenzuela
In the late 1920s, Mexican Americans in San Angelo settled in a small neighborhood north of the then-city, between present day 9th through 14th Streets, between N. Chadbourne St. and Randolph St. Another cluster of homes emerged south of downtown, near W. Avenue D near the Orient Railroad Depot called Oriente Barrio. As the Mexican American population increased since the ‘20s, another barrio formed south of Avenue K to Avenue N from S. Randolph to the Lone Wolf Bridge. Mexican American culture in San Angelo was captured in the 1992 book, Memorias: A West Texas Life by Salvador Guerro.
On Tuesday, September 17, the San Angelo City Council will issue a special proclamation designating Sept. 16-October 15 as Hispanic Heritage Month.
Get more stories like this by signing up for our daily newsletter, The LIVE! Daily.