By CHERIL VERNON
The Palestine High School Spanish Club will host a community-wide National Hispanic Heritage Month celebration today featuring live music, performances, Mexican food, games and more.
The event will be held from 5 to 6:30 p.m. today (Monday, Sept. 16) at the Palestine High School cafeteria.
“The whole Palestine area community is invited. We would like to specially see all of our parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and other family members of our wonderful children at our district from Washington school to Palestine High School,” PHS Spanish Club Sponsor Luis Giron said.
The event is being held to commemorate the 25th anniversary of when Ronald Reagan signed National Hispanic Heritage Month into law in 1988. This was to extend Lyndon B. Johnson's signing in 1968 from a week to a whole month. The month runs from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15.
“This starts as many people celebrate Mexican independence from Spain as well as independence for Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and El Salvador, where I am originally from,” Giron said. “It ends in October which is around the time that Christopher Columbus discovered America. The celebration is to give importance to Hispanic American contributions through out the years.”
The celebration will include live music and performers — including student and adult presenters. Mostly Mexican food will be served, but there will be a variety of food and drinks. Games will be set up for the little ones as well. Prizes also will be given. Admission is free. Some of the games will be free and there will be free candy.
“The food, drinks, and any other snacks will be sold to raise money for the high school Spanish club,” Giron said. “These kids work hard and this money will help with shirts, educational trips, and any other expenses when they do their work such as adopt a high way, recycling, and teaching little ones Spanish among other things.”
PHS Associate Principal Linda Holmes will give a brief presentation on PISD’s after-school program that will start Sept. 23.
“This is an outreach program to get parent and community involvement so that our kids will be more successful by the time they graduate high school,” Giron said.
The celebration is an opportunity to celebrate diversity in the United States, Giron said.
“It is also a chance to showcase Hispanic American achievement and contributions in America. We'd like to remember people like Cesar Chavez, the farm workers’ union rights activist and founder who also coined the term ‘Si Se Puede’ or loosely translated into English as ‘yes we can.’ He was a great example of Hispanic perseverance and an example to all Americans that we must fight for justice,” Giron said.
The event also will honor the memory of Enrique Camarena, the Drug Enforcement Agency agent who was slain in the war against drugs, for whom, the Red Ribbon Week campaign started; Tejano music star Selena and others.
“I hope that the parents and family members that come to the event leave feeling great about the diversity at our school and with the idea in mind that we can all work together for a brighter future,” Giron said. “I also hope that those who come out will be entertained, enlightened, fed, and educated a little more about how diverse and wonderful our community really is and how awesome our kids are.”