Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Supervisors proclaim Latino Heritage Month in Napa County

The Napa County Board of Supervisors today proclaimed Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, 2012, to be Latino Heritage Month in Napa County, in recognition of the County’s diverse Latino population and in an effort to promote diversity and inclusion throughout the community.
         “Napa Valley has a wonderful, longstanding tradition of multicultural inclusion,” said District 1 Supervisor Brad Wagenknecht. “Latino Heritage Month presents all of us with a wonderful opportunity to enjoy and learn more about our diverse Latino cultures."
         The Napa Valley Latino Heritage Committee, which includes Latino and non-Latino volunteer community members who share a goal of promoting multiculturalism, diversity and inclusion, has compiled a calendar of events throughout the four-week observation, including  musical and dance performances at the Uptown Theatre and the Napa Valley Opera House, a book program at the Napa County libraries, and events sponsored by the Napa County Hispanic Network, the Napa County Hispanic Chamber, Latinos Unidos, the St. Helena Multi-Cultural Committee, Somos Napa, St. Helena Library, St. Helena Family Center and more.
         For a complete, bilingual list event calendar, please visit www.somosnapa.org . Printed, bilingual calendars of events also will be available in libraries and at family resource centers.
            Napa County is home to a growing multi-ethnic and multicultural Latino population.
According to the 2010 census, Napa County’s Latino population has grown by 50 percent over
the past ten years and now represents more than 32 percent of Napa County residents (about
44,000 people), including people originating from México and countries in the Caribbean, and Central and South America.
            In 1968, President Lyndon B. Johnson first recognized Hispanic Heritage week. President Reagan expanded the observation to one month, and each successive United States President has continued that tradition. In 2011, President Barack Obama declared Sept. 15 through Oct. 15 to be National Hispanic Heritage Month and called upon the people of the United States to observe this month with appropriate respect, ceremonies and activities. Today’s Board action marks the first proclaimed Latino Heritage Month in Napa County.
         Debbie Alter-Starr, director of Somos Napa – We Are Napa and a member of the Latino Heritage Committee, said, “By helping found this first annual Napa County Latino Heritage Month, I hope to help children and their families in the Napa Valley experience the riches that cross-cultural friendships and multi-lingual lifestyles can bring.
         “The diverse Latino population of the Napa Valley makes an invaluable economic contribution to our community, as well as having profound positive, social influences through their strong commitment to family, faith, education, hard work, culture and service,” said Frances Ortiz-Chávez, Napa Valley Unified School District Board Trustee and center director Puertas Abiertas Community Resource Center.
         Jaime Peñaherrera, director of Diversity & Community Partnerships at Queen of the Valley Medical Center, commented, “Today, the Napa Valley is a truly transcultural community that enjoys contributions from families and individuals from almost every corner of the globe. While the festivities of Latino Heritage Month feature the cultures of México, Caribbean and Central and South America, they are open, appropriate and enjoyable for everyone.”
         For more information about Latino Heritage Month, contact Debbie Alter-Starr at (707) 480-7436 or deb@somosnapa.org.

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