The richness of Latin culture and history celebrated in Houston



A journey to appreciate Houston’s Hispanic heritage begins with a margarita and tasting of flan and other traditional Spanish-origin treats at the Heritage Society in downtown, where a large mural facing Sam Houston Park depicts people and events that shaped Mexican-American culture.

“We’re going to take people on a journey from 1836, when the city was founded, to the present day to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month,” said RW McKinney aboard an open-top adapted school bus.

Aided by black-and-white photo projections of early Mexican-American settlers, retro music recordings and other features, McKinney said the journey would begin with understanding that “the land you are on now was once Mexico. “.

McKinney is best known for Historic Houston by Mister McKinney who operates the Houston History Bus.

At Heritage Society Friday, McKinney said that while many people know Hispanic Heritage Month is an annual celebration in the United States, many others are unaware of its significance or the importance that this culture has. played locally and in the country.

Hispanic Bus Tours

Visit one: central Houston side

Pickup: At the Heritage Society at 1100 Bagby Street, 77002.

When: Saturday October 2 at 7 p.m. and Tuesday October 12 at 6.30 p.m. and 7.30 p.m.

Tickets / information:

Tour 2: Houston North Side

Pick-up: Moody Part, 2999 South Wayside, 77023.

When: Saturday October 16 at 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. and Sunday October 17 at 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.

Tickets / information: www.Mr and 713-364-8674.

Social networks: @MisterMcKinneysHistoricHouston and the @HoustonHistoryBus.

Adopted by Congress First as a weeklong celebration in 1968 and extended in 1988 to a month, Hispanic heritage celebrations were proclaimed by two US Presidents from Texas: Lyndon B. Johnson and George HW Bush, respectively.

Congress chose the start of the celebration each year on September 15 to coincide with the celebration of Independence Days in Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala. Mexico celebrates its independence on the 16th, Chile on the 18th and Belize on the 21st.

“Hispanic Heritage Month is an opportunity to recognize and honor the vibrant Latin American culture that lives and grows in this country,” said Alex Lopez Negrete, owner of Lopez Negrete Communications, one of the world’s largest corporations. Hispanic marketing firm in the United States and headquartered in Houston. “This is an opportunity to shine a light on the critical history and contributions of Latinos to the fabric of America.”

Hispanic and Latino are the two terms most accepted by people in the United States with Spanish or Latin American heritage or ancestors.

In most of the 33 countries south of Rio Grande and the Caribbean, Spanish is the predominant or official language since they were colonized by the Spaniards from the 15th century. A few Latin American countries, however, speak other languages, such as Portuguese in Brazil. But despite some linguistic differences, the countries of Latin America share many cultural, ethnic, geopolitical and historical commonalities.

“Founding culture”

“We (Latinos) are a founding culture of this society, and we are increasingly the largest and growing demographic,” said Pamela Quiroz, professor of sociology at the University of Houston and director of its Center for Mexican American Studies.

The Hispanic population increased by 11.6 million people in the country from the previous decennial census, which represented 51% of the country’s total population growth during that period. The increase in Latinos was mainly due to babies born in the United States, according to the Pew Research Center. In Texas, Hispanic residents have increased more than in any other state. They now represent 39.3% of the population, according to US Census data, which is nearly equal to whites at 39.7 percent and California’s Latino population (39.4 percent).

As the largest racial or ethnic group in Houston and Harris County, with more than 40% of the population, Latinos represent a major consuming and producing segment of society, Quiroz said.

A recent study from the UH Center for Mexican American Studies indicates that foreign-born and domestic Hispanics in the Houston metropolitan area combine an economic impact of more than $ 980 million per year.

Latinos make up 35 percent of the workforce in the metro area. However, that percentage increases dramatically – to 62 percent – in areas such as construction, mining and maintenance trades. It is 47 percent for service occupations and 45 percent for production and transportation, according to the study. Many of these work segments are “critical areas of the economy” that will be critical for the economic recovery of the Houston area following the COVID-19 pandemic, ”said Gabriela Sánchez-Soto, visiting researcher who wrote the report. ‘study.

“Every day, not just this month, Latinos are at the center of building our future, raising our children, nurturing our community and healing our sick,” López said. Negrete. He added that when looking at the history of Texas, it is inevitable to reflect on the Latinos who “have been a part of the history of work, the history of science and the history of music with figures such as than [labor activist] Emma Tenayuca, NASA [aerospace engineer] Diane trujillo, and the legendary Selena Quintanilla.

Tour operator McKinney said he was eager to show Houstonians the city’s rich Latin American culture and history. The Hispanic Heritage Bus Tours will take different routes starting October 2, he said on Friday. With him at the celebration on Friday, the Sam Houston Math, Science and Technology Center High School Mariachi Band, the Mixto Ballet Folklórico and community leaders such as former Houston City Councilor Gracie Saenz, among others, were at the announcement and celebration of bus tours. Friday.

For McKinney, Hispanic Heritage Month isn’t just about Latinos, but Houstonians and Houstonians as well. “These are people who work hard and thrive, who are tolerant and inclusive, like the story of the Anglo people, the black people here.”

Houston, with its diversity, “will continue to be the best city in the country thanks in large part to Mexicans Americans and Hispanics,” he said.

“Houstonians don’t have to learn to love themselves and be inclusive, inclusive and welcoming,” he said. “We do it anyway.”

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