BELLEVUE – National Hispanic Heritage Month is a big deal in the increasingly diverse city of Bellevue. To mark the event, the city threw a celebration at City Hall Sept. 28 and 29, with performances by top Latino artists on the concourse.
The City Hall events and others are part of Bellevue's annual Hispanic-Latino Heritage Celebration, which recognizes the month -- Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 -- marking independence for many Central and South American countries.
Local Spanish classes joined in the singing and dancing on the afternoon of Sept. 28, at a city-sponsored performance by Bailadores de Bronce, a group that performs traditional Mexican folk dance and singing, and Correo Aereo, a duo that presents traditional and original music of Mexico, Venezuela and Argentina.
Food, drink and entertainment were on offer on the concourse again the evening of Sept. 29, at an event is cosponsored by the city and the Eastside Latino Leadership Forum.
National Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated in the United States each year. Five Latin American countries -- Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua -- declared independence from Spain in mid-September of 1821. Mexico and Chile both also declared their independence in mid-September, in 1810.
The City of Bellevue's Cultural Diversity program, housed in the Parks & Community Services Department, was created in 1994 to address the various needs of the diverse communities in Bellevue, in addition to educating the overall community about diversity issues. Bellevue's demographics have changed significantly since 1980, with the non-Caucasian population growing from 8 percent to more than 30 percent in that time. There are more than 50 different languages spoken in Bellevue schools.
People can also sign up for the Conversations about Race and Culture series, which focuses on issues of race and culture. Other programs involving the community feature cultural events, diversity workshops, a video series and a Bellevue TV television and weekly radio show on KBCS-FM, 91.3, broadcasting from Bellevue Community College.
For more information, contact Kevin Henry, Bellevue cultural diversity coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org or 425-452-7886.
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