Since it’s inception in 2014, Black Westchester has celebrated Hispanic Heritage, including dedicating our second issue of the newspaper with the back page changing the name to Latino Westchester, Starting with the September 2017 issue of the newspaper we dedicated a permanent page to Lorraine Lopez’s Latino Empowerment column.
We understand just like African-Americans, your history is too vast and your accomplishments are too many to fit in one issue or to only be celebrated for one month. Its has been important to show how the Black and Brown Communities face and deal with many of the same issues. Our communities used to be a lot closer, but we allowed the powers to be to cause division between our two groups and in some cases within ourselves as a people. They do this because they know how powerful unity and working together can be and how dangerous to the status quo. Black Westchester understands you can not celebrate American History without celebrate Black and Brown history in America.
Hispanic Heritage Month recognizes and celebrates the contributions Americans tracing their roots to Spain, Mexico, Central America, South American and the Spanish-speaking nations of the Caribbean have made to American society and culture. The observance was born in 1968 when Congress authorized the president to issue an annual proclamation designating National Hispanic Heritage Week. Just two decades later, lawmakers expanded it to a monthlong celebration, stretching from September 15 to October 15.
The timing is key. Hispanic Heritage Month — like its shorter precursor — always starts on September 15, a historically significant day that marks the anniversary of independence of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. The designated period is also a nod to those from Mexico and Chile, which celebrate their independence on Sept. 16 and Sept. 18, respectively.
I would be remised if in celebrating Hispanic Heritage if I did not take this time to encourage everyone to fill out the 2020 Census. The Hispanic and Latino communities have to be fully counted if we expect others to understand that Black and Brown Lives Matter.
1970 is when the census actually started counting Hispanics but what we noticed over the years is traditionally both African-Americans and Hispanic communities are undercounted. It is hard to demand that our communities get the funding and programs we desperately need if we do not fill out the census. With just more than a week before the September 30th I wanted to take this opportunity to encourage all to fill out the census and encourage the leaders in the community to turn things up in making that happen in your community.
BW can not celebrate the accomplishments of Latinos without first starting with our resident Latino Lorraine Lopez. Lorraine made history as the first Latina to serve and be elected as a Councilwoman in the City of Yonkers and went on to serve the city as special assistant to the Mayor for two administrations. She is also one of the few to ever have been presented the Key To The City, presented by then Mayor Phil Amicone and replaced by current Mayor Mike Spano, when it had been lost or stolen.
She has been selflessly serving her community for decades and will leave no stone unturned when it comes to equality for Latinos and making sure needs of her community are served. Most recently she has elected one of the newest District Leaders in Yonkers during a Yonkers Democratic Party’s Ward Reorganization Meeting. She also topped the Yonkers Insider’s list of Yonkers Heavy Hitters for the year of 2019.
Lorraine is a true leader in her community who has done so much that elected officials and others take credit for at photo-ops but it all about serving her community with or without a title and even if she doesn’t received the accolades and applause. That’s what makes her an important member of the Black Westchester Family, her advocacy and because it really is all about doing it for the people. Lorraine has been a co-host of Black Westchester People Before Politics Radio Show since 2017 and has appeared in most of the last 150 plus shows.
Other Latino spotlights we have done over the last few years include White Plains Common Council Member Milagros Lecuona, Former Westchester Legislator Virginia Perez, Judge Elena Goldberg Velazquez – first Latina elected to serve of the Yonkers City Court, Louis Molina, the 1st Deputy Commissioner of the Westchester County Department of Corrections – the highest ranking Hispanic in law enforcement in Westchester, Peekskill City Councilmembers Vanessa Agudelo, Ramon Fernandez, Big Pun, The Legacy Of A Latino Lyricist, the Salsa Social Activist Willie Colon (Sept 2017 and Sept 15, 2019 Westchester Music Edition issues), former News 12 Westchester reporter Lisa Reyes, Anthony Mele (September 2018), Westchester Hispanic Law Enforcement Association President (WHLEA) Hector Lopez, Diana Sanchez, an organizer for The Yonkers Sanctuary Movement (Sept 15, 2020 issue on streets now), Hector Santiago founder of Stop and Shake, Ossining Trustee Omar Herrera (September 2018 issue), and Cesar E. Chavez (October 2018 issue), just to name a few.
We coverage several issues on the importance of the Hispanic Vote, Latino Lives Matter, the state of Puerto Rico after the hurricane, the veto of the Immigrant Protection Act by CE Astorino and the passing of it the next year by CE Latimer, Latinos and Police Criminality, New York Yankee legend Mariano Rivera delivering books to a Mount Vernon elementary school, the unprecedented number of Latinos who ran in the 2018 Primaries (September 2018 issue), just to name a few. We will be doing several spotlights celebrating the accomplishment of Latinos and covering issues facing the Latino community during the month.
Black Westchester will continue to salute and celebrate Hispanics and Latinos and uplift issues facing the Hispanic and Latino Community all year long in Lorraine Lopez’s Latino Empowerment Column in the newspaper.
Follow Lorraine Lopez’ Latino Empowerment on Facebook.
To all our Hispanic and Latino brothers and sisters, MES DE LA HERENCIA HISPANA!