History of the Hispanic Heritage Council of Western New York Inc.
The United States Congress passed a resolution on September 17, 1968 recognizing Hispanic heritage at the national level and implemented a week-long celebration. Nearly 20 years later, on August 17, 1988, the President of the United States, Ronald Reagan, initiated changing the annual commemoration to creating the "Hispanic Heritage Month" celebration from September 15-October 15. The Hispanic Community is the fastest growing minority group in the U.S and in Western New York itself, the Hispanic Community's estimated population is nearly 70,000 people.
Erie County and The City of Buffalo honored all the contributions Latinos have made in our community with an elaborate ceremony on September 15, 2010 at the downtown Buffalo & Erie County Public Library during its official launch of the month long celebration, which honors the influence and the impact Hispanics have had upon this city and region, raises public awareness about the richness and diversity of Latin American culture, highlights the variety of Hispanic heritage events going on during "Hispanic Heritage Month", and encourages pride throughout the local Hispanic community.
It became clear to the organizers of the first organized celebration of "Hispanic Heritage Month" in Buffalo in 2010 that the events associated with the month were just a small part of building awareness, education and the mutual understanding about the important role of Hispanic cultural heritage. As an outgrowth of the experiences of that month in 2010, Mr. Casimiro D. Rodriguez Sr. founded The Hispanic Heritage Council. Ironically, its small office today is located inside the downtown Buffalo and Erie County Public Library building.
In that same year, a collaboration began with several Arts & Cultural organizations of Erie County to create a calendar of events to celebrate the annual "Hispanic Heritage Month". The Hispanic Heritage Council of Western New York, Inc. received its official certificate of Incorporation as a New York nonprofit corporation on April 4, 2011 and its initial directors were: Casimiro D. Rodriguez Sr., Miguel Santos, Esmeralda Sierra, Tamara Alsace, Sergio Rodriguez, John Sanabria, Wilda Ramos, and Gilbert Hernandez. Its main objective is to highlight WNY's Hispanic community, its values and its culture through the community-wide celebration of "Hispanic Heritage Month" and activities throughout the year. This was when it officially became a legal entity to operate and conduct events in line with its mission to foster and inspire awareness, understanding, and appreciation of past, present, and future contributions of the Hispanic community in Western New York.
Several events to commemorate the Hispanic Community and its service have been initiated by this organization. One of its most popular event is "El Dia Del Nino," celebrated to promote literacy, nutrition, character, and recognize all school children.
The Hispanic Heritage Council of Western New York, Inc. was established to foster and inspire awareness, understanding, and appreciation of the past, present, and future contributions of the Hispanic Community in WNY. It is known as a leading organization that chronicles the past and creates opportunities for future contributions of the Hispanic community to Western New York's rich historical and cultural landscape.