September 15 marks the start of Spanish Heritage Month. This year, the community celebrates this month by raising awareness and raising morale.
Buffalo, New York – September 15th is the start of Hispanic Heritage Month. The time has come for Hispanic communities across the country to celebrate all that is “community” – both historically and in the present.
Time to share the diverse culture, language, food, music and history. Time to let others share the pride that people in Spanish society feel every day.
But this year, with COVID-19, things have been somewhat different and so has society.
According to a survey by the Pew Research Center, the unemployment rate among Hispanics in the United States increased from 4.8 percent in February to 18.5 percent by April. The numbers of Hispanic women are even higher. The unemployment rate for women reached a peak of 20.5% by April.
In western New York, community leaders like Casimiro Rodriguez of the Spanish Heritage Council of New York State And Dr. Raul Vazquez, CEO of Urban family practiceThey are doing their part in raising awareness this month, in the Hispanic community and on behalf of the Hispanic community.
“The biggest problem the black community and Hispanic community face is jobs,” said Vasquez. “Why not develop hands-on training programs for these kinds of issues in order to transform those societies.”
As unemployment grows, community organizations are joining together to create more powerful bilingual resources for Latinos living in western New York.
“The language barrier is a barrier that uniquely affects the Latin community,” said Vasquez. “It’s hard for people to understand what they’re doing, where to go, and what’s important if they don’t see people who look like them or hear people speak their language. Confidence is an issue.”
In addition to the resources to help families during this time, Rodriguez says this month will still be a celebration. A celebration of power and community.
There will be activities and programs until October 15th. And for those who are wondering, the resources aren’t going anywhere, they are here to stay.