MEMPHIS, Tenn. — For this first time in Memphis, Hispanic Heritage Month is officially recognized. The celebration started as Hispanic Heritage week in 1968 but was later expanded to an entire month 20 years later in 1988.
“It’s the anniversary of independence of Latin American countries, including Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua,” University of Memphis languages and literature professor Vania Barraza. “We are also celebrating all of the achievements and contributions Latinos have done in the US.”
Hispanic Heritage Month runs from September 15th through October 15th, and now 54 years later since its start, the celebration has only grown.
“It’s totally a fiesta,” Cazateatro co-founder Monica Sanchez said.
Cazateatro has hosted Latin Fest the past 4 years. Sanchez says this will be a month filled with culture, education, and celebration.
“We try to show the different communities between the Hispanic communities. Because we speak Spanish doesn’t mean we’re all from Mexico. So we want people to have that feeling seeing someone dance from Columbia, or someone who’s dancing from Brazil,” Sanchez said.
Not only for her children, but for people a part of all culture who are interested in learning more about Spanish and Latin history, food, and tradition.
“It makes us feel really good to see people accepting the Hispanic community, ready to learn, and ready to mingle and be together and celebrate with us,” Sanchez said.
Sanchez says every year she’s proud to share her culture with the rest of the city.
“We always say the more you know about your neighbor, the stronger the community will be. We have more things in common that can unite us than separate us,” Sanchez said.
Latin Fest kicks off Saturday, September 24th. The event is happening from 12p to 6p at Overton Square. You can find more information on the event on their website https://cazateatro.org.