By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
Scissortail Community Development Corporation, in partnership with the Mexican Consulate in Little Rock, Arkansas, will host this year’s La Independencia de México 2016 celebration, the largest Hispanic event in Oklahoma.
This free, family-oriented event celebrating Mexico’s Independence Day will take place on Sunday, September 18, from 1 to 9 p.m. at I-35 and SE 44th Street, near Buy for Less.
The event will include live music, Mexican horse culture, traditional Mexican food, kid activities, and booths featuring Hispanic businesses, and organizations.
The annual festival showcases internationally known Mexican artists and live entertainment, including traditional folklore performances from different regions of Mexico.
The celebration will also feature the ceremony of, “El Grito” a tradition proclaiming Mexico’s Independence from Spain, which will be delivered by the Consul of Mexico. Organizers say this will be one of the most symbolic moments of the program.
The traditional yell for independence, “El Grito,” will be presented at 7 p.m. by special guest Consul General Rodolfo Quilantán. Quilantán was made head consul of the new Little Rock office in June. He has held posts in Brownsville, TX, Los Angeles, CA; Antwerp, Belgium; Milan, Italy; and Guayaquil, Ecuador.
This will be the 4th year the Consul General will deliver the ceremony in Oklahoma City.
On September 15, 1810, Miguel Hidalgo, a priest from the small town of Dolores near Guanajuato in Mexico’s Colonial Heartland, made a momentous decision that revolutionized Mexican history and resulted in the war that led to Mexico’s independence.
Ordering the church bells to be rung, Hidalgo beseeched the native Mexicans and the lower classes of mixed blood urging them to stand up and take back the lands stolen from their forefathers – ending with the now-famous Grito: “Long live Mexico!”
The Mexican Independence Day festival began in Oklahoma City in 2010 to celebrate the bicentenary and in recognition of the growth of the Hispanic population in Oklahoma, especially from Mexico. Organizers say the event has been highly successful.
“We have found that in communities where the younger generations do not retain a connection to their culture and heritage, that there becomes a disconnect between children and their parents,” said Robert Ruiz, President of Scissortail Community Development Corporation.
“That’s why it’s important for us to give families the opportunity to share cultural experiences and create new traditions,” he added.
A non-profit, Scissortail CDC helps low income Oklahomans by focusing on education, job creation, housing and healthcare. It helps the underserved to be prepared to hold jobs that allow families to gain economic power and independence.
According to the 2010 US Census Bureau, 55 million people or 17 percent of the American population are of Hispanic or Latino origin. In addition, 80 percent of Hispanics in Oklahoma identify with Mexican Ancestry.
Event sponsors include Buy for Less, Plaza Latina, Michelle’s Boutique, Miller Lite, Coors Lite, Dos Equis, Modelo, SmartSaver, Telemundo, Univision, La Zeta, Exitos, La Tremenda, La Voz, Hola Oklahoma, La Indomable, El Patron, El Nacional, Supermercado Morelos, Metro PCS, Chicas Tax Service, Primos Auto Glass, and GreatSchools.
La Independencia de México festival focuses on the use of cultural advancement as an economic development tool while strengthening the connection within families.
“It will also give people a chance to visit a newly developing business district on the corner on SE 44th and High Avenue, which will feature a new Smart Saver Grocery store and Goodwill Industries,” said Ruiz.
Organizers expect nearly 20,000 people to attend the festival this year.
For booth or food vendor information, or to become a sponsor, call Scissortail CDC at 405-360-1200.
The 25th Annual Latino Community Development Agency (LCDA) Luncheon on September 28 at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City is also part of Hispanic Heritage Month. For details, call 405-236-0701 ext. 146.
In addition, on Saturday, October 1, Fiestas de las Americas OKC will take place on Calle Dos Cinco (SW 25th), in the historic Capitol Hill business district. To learn more, call 405- 632-0133.
National Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated from September 16 to October 16 in the United States.