Lowcountry residents can celebrate the region’s Hispanic and Latino heritage at more than 40 events during a month-long celebration that started this week.

“Hispanic and Latino Americans have shaped our national character with centuries-old traditions that reflect the multi-ethnic and multicultural customs of their communities, while adding their own distinct and dynamic perspectives to the historical narrative of our nation,” Charleston  Mayor John Tecklenburg said during a press conference Thursday.

Tecklenburg, alongside the Latinx Advisory Council, a council of civic leaders poised with advising the mayor on efforts that improve diversity and inclusion, announced the city’s National Hispanic Heritage Month 2022 observances at the conference. 

In a proclamation at the press event, Tecklenburg announced Charleston would officially recognize Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 as National Hispanic Heritage Month.  The United States began recognizing National Hispanic Heritage Week in 1968. On Aug. 17, 1988, President Ronald Reagan expanded the celebration to a month-long recognition by enacting National Hispanic Heritage Month into federal law.

“National Hispanic Heritage Month always starts on Sept. 15, a historically significant day that marks the anniversary of the independence of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua,” Tecklenburg said. “The designated period is also a nod to those from Mexico and Chile, which celebrate their independence on Sept. 16 and Sept. 18, respectively.” 

To celebrate the occasion, the Latinx Advisory Council, in collaboration with the city’s Cultural Affairs Department, planned more than 40 events throughout the month, including a community concert, a lecture series and a family-friendly festival. 

“Hispanic and Latino Americans represent a significant and fast growing demographic of our nation, we honor the invaluable ways they contribute to a stronger, more inclusive and prosperous city of Charleston,” said Tecklenburg. 

Along with sponsoring the National Hispanic Heritage Month events, a number of local representatives also attended the Sept. 15 reading of the proclamation, including: 

  • Latinx Advisory Council member and Business Growth & Development Co-Chair Nilsy Rapalo
  • Caja de Cuerdas Latin Band Leader Hector Salazar
  • Charleston Opera Theater Founder/Executive Artistic Director Harold Meers
  • Charleston Southern University Director at the Center for Global Education Stephanie LeVan
  • Circulo Hispanoamericano de Charleston Vice- President Paula Tejeda and Program Coordinator Asela Rodriguez Laguna
  • El Informador Newspaper Editor-In-Chief Pedro De Armas
  • Hispanic Business Association Board Member Charlie O’Brien
  • Holy City Arts & Lyric Opera Founding Artistic Director Dimitri Pittas
  • Latin Groove LLC Co-Founder Luigi Bravo
  • Lowcountry Local First’s Good Enterprises Program Director Raquel Padgett
  • Medical University of South Carolina’s Alliance for Hispanic Health Advisor Caroline Davila
  • Norsan Media’s Territory Manager Vanessa Gongora
  • The LENS Foundation of Charleston’s Initiatives & Events Chair Iskra Salcedo

A calendar of Hispanic Heritage Month Lowcountry events is available here.

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