Inaugural Hispanic Heritage Exhibition Walk to take place Saturday
Lucy Gonzalez noticed something was missing in San Marcos.
Gonzalez, event coordinator for the inaugural Hispanic Heritage Exhibition Walk, attended January’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. march and began to wonder what sort of events took place during Hispanic Heritage Month.
“Well, when I was Googling, I did not find anything,” Gonzalez said. “I said, ‘Wait a minute. We live in a city where the percentage of Latinos is close to 42%. Where’s the representation?'”
Gonzalez teamed up with LULAC Council 654 and Centro Cultural Hispano de San Marcos to host the Hispanic Heritage Exhibition Walk on Saturday, beginning at 10 a.m.
Hispanic Heritage Month began Thursday and Gonzalez said the event will highlight the start of the month honoring Hispanic culture.
“One thing I noticed while living in Mexico for eight years, I was totally me because my Mexican culture was engulfed with it, and I think a lot of times what happens is when we come to the U.S., we leave our culture a little bit behind,” Gonzalez said. “So, instead of belonging, we try to fit in. That has been my main thing that I say, we are here to belong not to fit in. And this is for every culture, not just Latino culture … But that’s what I believe is going to truly bring more diversity and growth to our community is when we embrace each one of our cultures.”
Saturday’s walk will begin at Centro Cultural Hispano de San Marcos, 211 Lee St., and end at the Hays County Historic Courthouse. Flags of Latin American countries represented during Hispanic Heritage Month will be flown during the walk. Participants will be greeted with music, food and vendors at the courthouse.
Gonzalez said those who plan to attend can expect a lot of fun.
“A lot of great food,” Gonzalez said. “A lot of community interaction and community building. More than anything, different entertainers. We have ballet folklorico. We have mariachi. A DJ that’s going to be playing all kinds of music from reggaeton to cumbia to norteño whatever that might look like. Just, people [should] be ready to experience the vibrant Latin American culture.”
All proceeds from Saturday’s event will go toward scholarships. Gonzalez said LULAC will use the funds to give scholarships to high school students planning to attend college, while Centro will focus on providing scholarships for its after-school programs.
“One thing we noticed is a lot of the children that need [Centro's programming] it also keeps them out of trouble from just staying home alone after school or from being out on the streets and so forth,” Gonzalez said. “So, that’s what we decided to do with all the proceeds that’s going to come from this walk. And, each year, we just expect to get bigger and better.”
Gonzalez said 21 organizations signed up to attend Saturday’s walk by the August deadline to be included on T-shirts and banners. An additional 10 have signed up after the deadline.
As Saturday’s walk draws near, Gonzalez said she believes a shift toward unity is happening in San Marcos.
“I truly believe that there is a shift coming to our community and that shift is wonderful,” Gonzalez said. “Not just our walk but in this month there has been, for example, the Pride Walk and now it’s Hispanic Heritage and in the next couple of weeks, the Mermaid Society is also having their walk. It’s really amazing to see all the organizations coming together in unity, love and respect. We have people walking in this that are churches, nonprofits, political people and we each think differently but we all come together for one cause.”