LatinaLista — Mañana kicks off national Hispanic Heritage Month.
In the past, there hasn't been a whole lot of coordination among the different groups of a city in celebrating the once-a-year, 30-day observance.
And that has usually resulted in so many fiestas and parades happening on the same weekend that before we know it, the rest of the month is pretty void of anything.
But this year is different.
Not because it's a new year, but because it's a new climate where the Latino community needs to take advantage of the full 30 days â€” and not just party, but strategize a public relations campaign that tells its side of the story.
Here and there reports are filtering in that some communities are seeing a rise in hate crimes or that legal Latinos are being swept up in the heightened hysteria by their local law enforcement to detain suspected illegals or that mainstream society suffers from the delusion that all Hispanics are illegally here, or just arrived.
Whatever it is, it's clear that this year's Hispanic Heritage Month has to consist of more than just a parade and a fiesta.
Mariachis provide traditional music for the annual observance of Diez y Seis celebrations.
Some cities have realized this already and have formed some unique coalitions.
For example, in New Mexico, 39 local, state and national organizations have formed a Hispanic Heritage Month committee "to promote cultural, educational and entertainment events and programs."
It's the first time such a unified effort has been formed.
But New Mexico isn't alone. In Cincinnati, Ohio, they're kicking off a Hispanic awareness campaign during Hispanic Heritage Month. Organizers of it said:
So much news and information centers around the undocumented segment of our Hispanic population when in fact the majority of our Latino neighbors are active members of our Greater Cincinnati communities and businesses.
The campaign plans to include public service announcements featuring three high-profile local Latinos.
â€œThis is a positive step that pulls together our communityâ€™s media and other resources to improve the characterization of the Hispanic community,â€ said Neil Comber, an organizer of the local Hispanic Heritage Month.
The Latino community needs to take a lesson from those celebrities who learned that if the camera was going to be focused on them, they might as well bring that focus on a particular cause.
With 30 days to talk about Latinos, why not do it?