For Immediate Release - October 02, 2013

GOVERNOR PATRICK CELEBRATES 25th ANNUAL HISPANIC HERITAGE MONTH

BOSTON – Wednesday, October 2, 2013 - Governor Deval Patrick today celebrated the 25th annual Hispanic Heritage Month during an event at the State House. Throughout the month, Governor Patrick and leaders from the Administration have been participating in events that showcase the social and civic contributions and rich heritage of the Massachusetts Hispanic community. This year’s theme, “25 Years Strong: A Celebration of Civic Engagement and Service” recognizes the impact of the Hispanic community’s leadership and service to the Commonwealth.

“Our non-profit and service organizations unite our communities and often times reach a section of our population that government cannot reach alone,” said Governor Patrick. “This month we celebrate our diversity by honoring the contributions Hispanic civic-based organizations make in creating a unified and more vibrant Commonwealth.”

During today’s celebration, Governor Patrick welcomed attendees and presented the official proclamation for Hispanic Heritage Month, which lasts from September 15 - October 15. The Governor was joined by Ginetta Candelario, Associate Professor of Sociology, Director of the Program in Latin American and Latina/o Studies and a faculty affiliate of the Study of Women and Gender Program at Smith College. Two local youth dance groups, Bajucol and Ritmo en Acción, also performed cultural dances. The day also includes a community fair exclusive to nonprofit organizations with Latino constituencies to showcase their programs and services.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau data, there are 53 million Hispanics in the U.S. Massachusetts’ population is estimated at 6.6 million, of which over 10 percent identify as Hispanic or Latino. The Latino population is rapidly growing; as such social issues similar to other minority communities are prevalent. The Patrick Administration has recognized the needs of this emerging community and continues to advance a range of social and public policies that have positively impacted the economic, social and political climate of Latinos.

Governor Patrick’s proclamation recognizes that the nations of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Mexico and Chile, which all celebrate their independence between September 15 and September 18. According to the United States Library of Congress, National Hispanic Heritage Month is an opportunity for Americans to celebrate "the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America." First recognized as a week-long observation under President Lyndon B. Johnson, President Ronald Reagan later expanded the holiday from September 15 to October 15.

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