In the last 10 years, Latinos have become one of the fastest-growing communities in King County, and with that comes their booming cultural scene. The culture — their arts, music, and dances — are particularly on display during Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs from Sep. 15 to Oct. 15. September is when countries like Mexico, Chile, and El Salvador celebrate their Independence from Spain. Last week, Sea Mar hosted a parade in South Park and organized El Grito (the shout) — a celebration of Mexican independence — in Seattle Center, but that marks just the beginning.
South Park neighbors were ready early, vying for the best spots ahead of Saturday’s annual Fiestas Patrias parade. Lawn chairs lined South Cloverdale Street while vendors sold chicharrones, barbacoa, and aguas frescas.
My story is one that isn’t often heard in the tech world. I grew up in Huayacocotla, a small Indigenous town in the mountains in Mexico. When I was 5, my mother — who was an elementary school teacher — moved me and my three sisters to La Guerrero, one of the most underprivileged neighborhoods in Mexico City. Resources were scarce, and kids were easy targets for violence and many other social problems.
Thankfully, education was a force that shielded me from violence and, eventually, allowed me to flourish. Growing up, I was always interested in math, and my passion led me to multiple gold medals in Mathematical Olympiads in school.
Despite the barriers facing me, I was able to overcome challenges like racism, lack of knowledge about the opportunities available to me, and my own imposter syndrome. But I didn’t overcome these challenges alone. There are many factors that led me to where I am today — a software engineer at Google working on products like Google Meet — including mentors, access to a good education, and my love of math and problem-solving. I’m here today thanks to mi comunidad.
The festivities began last Friday at the Seattle Asian Art Museum with an opening night gala and after party reception. Dennis Mencia, a Honduran American actor known for playing Mateo Villanueva on CW’s Jane the Virgin, was MC for the event. The gala showcased the Uruguayan comedy, The Broken Glass Theory, one of the festival’s 106 in-person and online films supporting the magic of filmmaking as part of Hispanic culture globally.
The in-person showcase continued at The Beacon Cinema in Columbia City on Saturday with an American film called Coast, directed by Jessica Hester and Derek Schweickart. Also shown was the Venezuelan film, Opposite Direction, and an LGBTQ film called Liz In September. The director, Fina Torres, known for Fox Searchlight’s Woman on Top with Penélope Cruz, was present for the Q&A after the screening.
Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 marks Hispanic Heritage Month in the U.S. To celebrate, the Emerald spoke to Latino community members in Seattle about highlighting Latino businesses, what it means to be Latino in the U.S., and a little about their own journeys. Some of the words they used to describe Latino people were “hardworking,” “passionate,” and “go-getters.”
Intentionalist is built on one simple idea: where we spend our money matters. We make it easy to find, learn about, and support small businesses and the diverse people behind them through everyday decisions about where we eat, drink, and shop. #SpendLikeItMatters
Latino Heritage Month is underway, and we are celebrating the best way we know how: by visiting small businesses owned by members of the diverse Latino and Hispanic communities throughout Seattle.
Wondering why Latino Heritage Month begins in the middle of the month? Sept. 15 marks the anniversary of independence for Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Additionally, Mexican Independence Day is Sept. 16 and Independence Day in Chile is Sept. 18.
Check out these three eateries — Cuban, Mexican, and Salvadoran — to start off your Latino Heritage Month celebration and be sure to visit Intentionalist’s Latinx Heritage Month landing page to check out a variety of fun promotions that include prizes from Seattle Sounders FC and Seattle Seahawks.
The South Park Multicultural Latino Market, a recurring weekend pop-up hosted by the South Park Merchants Association (SPMA), will host a special celebration of Mexican Independence Day and Hispanic American Heritage Month on Saturday, Sept. 18, at the South Park Plaza. Fiestas Patrias will feature DJs spinning salsa, cumbia, merengue, banda, and quebradita sonidero music, and vendors will sell authentic Mexican and Latino foods like tacos, empanadas, elotes, specialty non-alcoholic drinks, as well as clothing, jewelry, and collectibles. The celebration starts at 1 p.m. and goes until 5 p.m. or later. RSVP and find out more at the Fiesta Patrias Facebook event page.
Mexican Independence Day took place on Sept. 16, but other Central and South American countries celebrate their independence days around the same time, kicking off Hispanic American Heritage Month from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15. Fiestas Patrias is an inclusive Independence Day celebration for South Park’s diverse Latino community and everyone is welcome.