Hispanic Heritage Month: Hundreds in Staten Island celebrate independence with food and music

Hispanic Heritage Month: Hundreds in Staten Island celebrate independence with food and music

Staten Island, New York – It was a day to celebrate independence among the Hispanic community of Staten Islanders.

On Sunday, hundreds of Port Richmond townspeople gathered with friends and family to eat traditional food, listen to music, enjoy performances, and participate in activities as part of the celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month. This colorful event, hosted by El Centro del Immigrante along with a range of community groups, was held at Our Lady Mt. Carmel-St. RC Benedict Church.

It was also an opportunity for around 600 people to meet and meet their neighbors as many celebrate Independence Days this month.

Many Latin American countries celebrate their independence on September 15, including Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their Independence Day on September 16 and September 18, respectively.

“We are here to celebrate Port Richmond’s Spanish heritage,” said Andres Garcia, Co-CEO of El Centro del Immigrante. “There are a lot of countries that celebrate their independence and their heritage, so we take some time out of our year to honor all the different cultures that make Staten Island, and that make Port Richmond so great.”

Attendees were greeted with colorful decorations, several tents to hide from the scorching sun, plenty of food vendors, information tents and tables, flags, a DJ, and an area for performances, including a mariachi and dance band.

Garcia said the day was filled with national pride and a tribute to cultures from which residents might feel disconnected.

“We hope that people can feel at home, see themselves in the people around them, be able to eat delicious food and see great shows and really enjoy their time together. Not just as immigrants, but as members of the Port Richmond community.”

This is the second year that El Centro has hosted the event.

Garcia explained that El Centro and Port Richmond are predominantly a Mexican community — but the event hopes to learn about and make room for all the new immigrants and new families moving into the neighborhood that has become part of the community. This includes inviting ambassadors from different cultures and countries to have their own tables during the event that attendees can connect with.

Located on Port Richmond Street – in the heart of the Spanish community – El Centro has for years sponsored large-scale celebrations of arts and culture that share pride in Spanish heritage with the town. Sunday’s event also helped kick off the 25th anniversary of El Centro on Staten Island, including a celebration and cultural celebration that will take place October 26 at the St. George’s Theatre.

“We are here for the community, in every way imaginable,” said Michelle Molina, Co-CEO.

Molina accepted the Service Award from Mayor Eric Adams on behalf of El Centro employees, volunteers and longtime work in the community. El Centro del Immigrante has been honored with the Community Impact Award for its innovative strategy to meet the needs of the community during the pandemic.

El Centro was the first organization in the region to recognize the needs of immigrants and continue to serve people from Latin America, Africa, and Asia, as well as native-born Americans.

For 25 years, El Centro has been a trusted resource for tens of thousands of Staten Islanders as they navigate the ever-changing landscape of migration, economic downturns, housing shortages, the September 11, 2001 attacks, the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Hurricane Sandy and other events. in modern history.

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