By: Monica Ramos Office manager
The creation of a San Angelo Hispanic Heritage Museum and Cultural Center is a long term goal brought forth by a newly formed Hispanic Heritage Committee in San Angelo. The founders of the committee are Del Velasquez, President; Suzanna Valenzuela, Vice President; Monette Molinar, Secretary; and Monica Ramos, Treasurer. The group serves as advocates for the Hispanic community, its culture, and rich history within our great city.
Mission: The Hispanic Heritage Committee serves to educate and provide public awareness of the Hispanic community’s impact throughout the past, present, and future. The Committee seeks to pursue opportunities such as events and venues to promote the culture, history, and accomplishments of San Angelo’s Hispanic population.
Vision: The Hispanic Heritage Committee seeks to empower Hispanic leaders and create means for the promise of the Hispanic community, establishing opportunities that have not yet been accomplished.
In 2019, in recognition of Hispanic Heritage Month, a Facebook page was created to highlight the history of the Hispanic community in San Angelo and feature Hispanic leaders’ contributions and achievements. The page quickly gained popularity with over 90,000 visitors.
After a Diez y Seis de Septiembre celebration kick off for Hispanic Heritage Month held on the steps of City Hall, the group became aware of the outpouring of support from the community.
Shortly thereafter on September 17, 2019, the City of San Angelo recognized their first National Hispanic Heritage Month Proclamation, read aloud by Mayor Brenda Gunter. The proclamation was graciously accepted by Jason Fernandez of El Puente Foundation. Later that day a fun filled Dia de los Muertos event was held by the Railway Museum of San Angelo during the Downtown Stroll. Local Hispanic vendors and artists were invited to take part in the celebration. Participation by the public was well received.
It was apparent that the need for Hispanic cultural education and enlightenment was something residents of San Angelo would benefit from and support. Moving forward, the committee has actively worked towards plans to establish a 501c(3) non-profit organization. Soon, the committee will have the opportunity to expand by accepting memberships and hosting fundraisers to benefit the future of the San Angelo Hispanic Heritage Museum and Cultural Center.
On October 29-31, 2020, the committee will be hosted their first fundraiser concentrated on Dia de los Muertos. Partners of the event included the San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts and the San Angelo Cultural Affairs Council. An introduction by Dr. John Klingemann, Angelo State University Dean/Professor College of Arts and Humanities, provided an educational explanation of what Dia de los Muertos represents and its true culture. This year, the event was held virtually with musical performances by Willie Alvarado, the Lakeview Mariachi, and a Selena Tribute by Trina y los Dinos. Artist showcases and tutorials included local artists Alejandro Castanon, Michelle Cuevas, Wendy Woodring and Chandra Satterwhite.
The public was also invited to visit an elaborate altar created by Vivid Pop Events and Stemmed Designs to place ofrenda items for their loved ones, at the steps of the Museum of Fine Arts. And a Dia de los Muertos: A Celebration of Life! Virtual 5K/1 Mile Walk/Run was incorporated for the community to walk or run in remembrance of a passed loved one.
More information about future events can be found at sanangelohispanicheritage.org and San Angelo Hispanic Heritage Museum and Cultural Center Facebook Page.