The origins of Hispanic Heritage Month began as a commemorative week introduced by California Congressman George E. Brown in 1968. Brown’s goal was to recognize the contributions made by the Hispanic community to American History.
The current 31-day celebration was proposed in 1987 by U.S. Representative Esteban E. Torres to “properly observe and coordinate events and activities to celebrate Hispanic culture and achievement.”
At the end of my sophomore year in high school, my parents decided that our family would pack up our belongings and head to Central Florida to start a new life. As a native south Floridian, ordering a warm quesito and a cortadito in Spanglish was normal. However, moving to Osceola County introduced me to various interesting new adventures. For example, while my Miami friends took the train to the beach, my new Osceola friends and I attended the fair on Rodeo Day.
In the past 20 years, the Hispanic population in Osceola County has grown explosively. While in the early 2000s, I would find my beloved quesitos exclusively in Buenaventura Lakes; now, they are everywhere. I can enjoy a quesito with a chi latte from Cafe Barista, a quesito with a classic cortadito from Buchito or a quesito with a cafecito from Fortuna bakery.
The presence of the Hispanic community is ubiquitous in Osceola while simultaneously melting with our county’s rich history. And Hispanic heritage is more than ordering a quesito and a cortadito in Spanish.
Our heritage is the hard work and entrepreneurship displayed by the small business owners across Osceola County. Our heritage is educational excellence, as shown by the many teachers and professors who enhance our school district daily, such as Dr. Belinda Reyes, a fierce education advocate and assistant superintendent. Our heritage is innovation and creativity, as shown by Salma Sanchez, the Adobe World Champion. Our heritage includes Ashley Ann Carino Barreto, who last year brought the Miss Florida crown to Osceola County, and this year was named Miss Puerto Rico.
Our heritage is a strength, as demonstrated by the immigrant families who forge a new path like the early settlers of our county did before.
Hispanic heritage is American heritage. Hispanic heritage is Osceola’s heritage. Happy Hispanic Heritage Month to all!
Teresa “Terry” Castillo is the Osceola County School Board Chair, and will start her second term on the board this year.
NEXT WEEK: An interview with Ashley Ann Carino Barreto, a former Miss Florida and current Miss Puerto Rico, who will compete in January at the Miss Universe Pageant.
This News is Published from Google Alert – Hispanic Heritage Month.