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Commission Approves Proclamation Declaring September 15th to October 15th As National Hispanic Heritage Month
Santa Fe, NM- At the September 12, 2023, Santa Fe County Board of County Commissioners (BCC) meeting, Commissioner Camilla Bustamante, (D-3) introduced a proclamation recognizing September 15 to October 15th as National Hispanic Heritage month. The proclamation celebrates the contributions, histories, and cultures of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South American.
Santa Fe County is home to several traditional Land Grant and acequia communities with a self-identified Hispanic population of 54.3% according to the United States Census of 2022. Yet, these same communities acknowledge their existence as neighbors within the Greater Tewa Basin and honor generational relationships and continue to build a shared culture of love and respect with their Pueblo relatives Remarkably, Santa Fe County includes numerous cultural heritage communities such as Agua Fria, Chimayo, Pojoaque, Tesuque, La Cieneguilla, La Cienega and Galisteo that reveal peaceful coexistence and querencia (deep sense of belonging and care of place). It is crucial to acknowledge that, Hispanics in the United States and New Mexico have experienced discrimination, institutional racism, and ongoing challenges related to cultural assimilation.
Commissioner Bustamante (D-3) passionately testified at the meeting that “The significance of this proclamation, particularly when presented in Spanish, lies in the fact that previous generations in Santa Fe were discriminated against for speaking Spanish in schools. My Aunt reminded me, that as a next generation Hispana it is my responsibility to reclaim my language. Living in times of such discrimination, it is important now, more than ever, to reclaim my grandma’s language, our mother tongues to help recapture and build pride within our mixed communities.”
The proclamation was eloquently read into the record by Marcos Maes, Director of Student Engagement and Recruitment at Santa Fe Community College and Olivia Romo, Communications Coordinator with Santa Fe County. Both individuals, through their professional endeavors and community involvement, actively empower youth and communities in preserving their cultural heritage.
The proclamation emphasizes that cultural resilience is not supported by battles, war, and conflict but rather forging through such adversity by developing nurturing relationships with family, neighbors, community, water and land. Additionally, it recognizes the strength of Hispanic women, mothers, and grandmothers that continue to foster our cultural traditions, language, seeds and ensuring their survival.
Commissioner Anna Hansen reflected on her own experience, remarking, "I, too, was discouraged from speaking my mother tongue of Danish for similar reasons that the Hispanic community faced language suppression. I would like to believe that times have changed, and now our youth are embracing their mother tongue."
Through the adoption of this proclamation, Santa Fe County encourages residents to celebrate, grow, share, educate, and evolve their Hispano/a, Latino/a, Chicano/a or Mexicano/a identity in Santa Fe County.
Commissioner Hughes concluded by stating, "I also firmly believe that our Hispanic heritage is an integral part of what makes Santa Fe special. It's not just about the culture or the architectural style of our buildings; it's about our people, and we must treasure them."
For media inquiries regarding the proclamation, contact Olivia Romo, Communications Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org