By ALFREDO ALVARADO
District Council 37’s Latino Heritage Committee celebrated National Hispanic Heritage Month with its 24th annual event. The festivities took place at union headquarters and began on Sept. 20 with the traditional ribbon cutting ceremony.
“Latinos contributing to culture in America is our theme this year,” said Carmen Flores, the committee chair, at the opening, where she was joined by Executive Director Henry Garrido.
The November presidential election was the hot topic, and Garrido urged everyone to help get out the vote on Election Day and support Hillary Clinton. “The Latino community has to send a message that is loud and clear,” Garrido said. “Not getting to the polls would be a tragic mistake,”
The Hispanic Heritage Month activities continued on Sept. 23 with SSEU Local 371’s celebration. The local honored Barbara Camacho for her advocacy on behalf of the many low-income immigrants she has helped who needed legal assistance. Camacho was a Fragomen Fellow at the New York City Bar Justice Center when she helped secure the release of a man who was held in a detention center and reunited him with his son. “It’s a privilege to be able to help immigrants in need,” said Camacho.
The evening also featured the swinging sounds of the Ray de la Paz Orchestra.
The union celebrations concluded on Sept. 30. In his welcoming remarks , Local 372 president Shaun Francois I pointed to the local’s diversity, its large Latino membership and how well members work together. “We are all one big family, one big union family,” he said.
Their guest of honor was Bronx Civil Court Judge Llinet Rosado, who was recognized for her years of advocacy on behalf of children in the Bronx.
The evening closed with a performance by the Dominican folkloric group Los Cajuelos and singer Frankie Vazquez and Los Soneros del Barrio band.
National Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated annually from Sept. 15-Oct. 15.