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County Council recognizes, celebrates history and heritage of Latino/Latina Community in King County

Summary

Council declares Sept. 15-Oct. 15 Latinx Heritage Month

Story

 10_10_latinx_web
Estella Ortega (Front row left) with El Centro de la Raza and Lupita Torres (Front row right)
with Para Los Ninos join Councilmembers after the Council proclaimed Sept. 15-Oct. 15
“Latinx Heritage Month” in King County. 

Theirs is a history that predates the arrival of the Pilgrims at Plymouth Rock and a heritage that continues to influence lives not only throughout King County, but the world. The Metropolitan King County Council today recognized September 15-October 15 as Latinx Heritage Month in King County.

“Latinx” is growing in acceptance as the gender-neutral alternative to Latino and Latina. It’s being used by scholars, activists and an increasing number of journalists and is quickly gaining popularity among the general public.

“Latinx heritage and culture has helped shape our county, our state and our nation,” said Councilmember Jeanne Kohl-Welles, co-sponsor of the proclamation. “People of Latinx ancestry are 9.4 percent of the population of King County. The contributions of generations of Latinx elected officials, educators, workers, artists, business leaders and community organizations have helped create the thriving economy and society we enjoy in King County today.”

“I am happy to celebrate the deep cultural roots of Latinx communities that have long inhabited this land and am committed to supporting those that are new to our County and Country,” said Council Chair Joe McDermott. “The King County Immigrant and Refugee Task Force issued their final report earlier this year with recommendations to advance equity and opportunity for King County Immigrants and Refugees. I look forward to working on implementing recommendations from this report for all immigrants, including Latinx.”

When the Pilgrims arrived in their “new world,” in addition to the native population, there were already established Latinx and Mestizo communities in what is now Florida and the Caribbean. The city of Santa Fe, New Mexico, founded by Latinx and Mestizo colonists in 1610, is considered the oldest state capital city in the United States.

The dates for the celebration coincide with historic events in Latin America. September 15 is the anniversary of the 1812 independence declarations in five Latin American countries (Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua), and Mexico, Chili, and Belize celebrate their independence days on September 16, September 18 and September 21.

Latinx heritage and culture is a vital part of the history of our county. Almost 10 percent of the population in King County is Latinx and the highest non-English language spoken in the County is Spanish. The recognition highlights the impact the Latinx community has in the county, while acknowledging the challenges many continue to face in the areas of employment and housing.

 


 
 10_10_Latinx_spanish_web
 Lupita Torres with Para Los Ninos reads
the Spanish translation
of the Council's
"Latinx Heritage Month" proclamation

 

 PROCLAMATION

WHEREAS, our country’s Latinx and Mestizo heritage reaches back more than five centuries; when the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock, Latinx and Mestizo civilization was already established in what is now Florida and the Caribbean, as well as other parts of our continent; and

WHEREAS, since that time, Latinx residents have been a consistent and vital influence in the history and culture of the United States, Washington State, and King County; and

WHEREAS, September 15 was chosen as the starting point for the celebration for Latinx Heritage Month because it is the anniversary of the 1812 independence declarations in five Latin American countries (Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua); and Mexico, Chile, and Belize celebrate their independence days on September 16, September 18, and September 21, respectively; and

WHEREAS, people of Latinx ancestry make up about 17 percent of our nation’s total population, and approximately 9.4 percent of the population of King County; and

WHEREAS, the cultural, economic, and political influences of Latinx in King County and the Northwest can be seen and appreciated in all aspects of life—from workers, educators, and elected officials, to gifted artists and musicians, to the struggles of farm workers for fair housing and wages, to thriving businesses and important community organizations; across all walks of life, Latinx continue to be a vital part of the cultural, economic, and political life of our region;

NOW, THEREFORE, we, the Metropolitan King County Council, proclaim September 15 to October 15, 2016, as

LATINX HERITAGE MONTH

in King County and encourage all county residents to join us in celebrating the many contributions people of Latinx heritage bring to our community.

DATED this tenth day of October, 2016.



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