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Cry of Celebration: NLV Event Honors Hispanic Heritage Month

Mexican Independence Day was celebrated early in North Las Vegas as part of the city's kickoff for Hispanic Heritage Month.

In a vibrant display of cultural pride and celebration, Gustavo Ramos-Bennett stood proudly in front of his art stand for City of the World at the Hispanic Heritage Month Kickoff Celebration in North Las Vegas. The event, held on Thursday, September 14, 2023, was filled with excitement and enthusiasm as attendees gathered to honor and commemorate the rich heritage of the Hispanic community.

The festivities began with Julián Escutia Rodríguez shouting "¡Viva México!" outside the North Las Vegas City Hall building. The crowd erupted in cheers as he extended the Mexican flag, and the national anthem of Mexico played, setting the stage for a night of jubilation. This shout, known as El Grito de Dolores or the Cry of Dolores, is a traditional proclamation made on the eve of Mexican Independence Day, which falls on September 16.

As Escutia Rodríguez made his cry, the crowd responded with their own shouts of "Viva," paying homage to the annual tradition at the historic plaza in Mexico City. There, the president of México waves the flag and exclaims "¡Viva México!" to the sea of people, who eagerly respond with "¡Viva!"

The spirited shouts of "Viva" echoed through the streets of North Las Vegas, marking the early kickoff for Hispanic Heritage Month. The city, recognizing the importance of this month-long celebration, organized a series of events and activities from Friday through October 15. The highlight of the kickoff celebration was the waving of the Mexican flag and the Cry of Dolores, performed by Escutia Rodríguez, who serves as the Las Vegas consul for Mexico.

Prior to the cry, Liberty Park, located behind City Hall, came alive with the vibrant performances of folkloric groups and talented middle and high school mariachi bands. The stage was filled with traditional dances, captivating the crowd and showcasing the rich cultural heritage of the Hispanic community.

Ruth Garcia-Anderson, the North Las Vegas councilwoman of Ward 2, emphasized the importance of educating and sharing the significance of Independence Day for many Latin American countries. She highlighted the common misconception between Cinco de Mayo and Mexican Independence Day, urging attendees to embrace this opportunity to learn, celebrate, and unite.

The diverse population of North Las Vegas, with over 40 percent identifying as Latino, reflects the multicultural fabric of the city. Isaac Barron, the North Las Vegas councilman for Ward 1, emphasized the need to recognize and celebrate the multitude of cultures within the Hispanic community. He acknowledged that the term "Latino" encompasses various traditions and histories, extending beyond Mexico due to the proximity of the U.S. and Mexico.

Iván Sandavol-Cerantes, a cultural anthropologist at UNLV, echoed this sentiment, emphasizing the importance of understanding that Hispanic heritage encompasses people from many different countries. He urged individuals to recognize and appreciate the diverse cultures that celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month.

Silvia Mabel Martínez Romero, the Las Vegas general consul for El Salvador, expressed her desire for people to understand that while the Hispanic community shares a month of celebration, they are comprised of distinct cultures. Each culture brings its own unique traditions and history to the vibrant tapestry of Hispanic heritage.

As the Hispanic Heritage Month Kickoff Celebration came to a close, the air was filled with a sense of unity, pride, and appreciation for the rich tapestry of Hispanic cultures. The event served as a reminder of the importance of recognizing and celebrating diversity, fostering a sense of inclusivity, and honoring the contributions of the Hispanic community.

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