By Victor Lopez Jr.

                    President of the Hispanic Coalition of Greater Waterbury

    Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15, by celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.

   The observation started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period starting on September 15 and ending on October 15. It was enacted into law on August 17, 1988, on the approval of Public Law 100-402.
   The day of September 15 is significant because it is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September18, respectively. Also, Columbus Day or Día de la Raza, which is October 12, falls within this 30 day period.

   Below you will find a calendar of activities scheduled with the purpose of Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month. I am very proud of the collaborative effort to make this calendar possible. Please, be aware that some planned events may not be included in this calendar.

   Let the celebration begin…..

   Friday, September 13 at 10 am. Mexican Flag-Raising Ceremony City Hall, Waterbury The Mexican Flag is made up of green, white, and red. The green is on the left side of the flag and symbolizes independence. White is the color in the middle of the flag and symbolizes religion. The red is on the right side of the flag and symbolizes union. These colors are used often in decorating for the Mexican Independence Day fiesta.

   Monday, September 16, 6:30pm. – 8:00 pm. Alisa’s House of Salsa @ The Mattatuck Museum Admission is Free Salsa dance lessons come back to the Mattatuck on Monday nights! Join us in welcoming longtime Latin dance instructor, Alisa Bowens back to Waterbury. For more information visit, Food and beverages available.

   Thursday, September 19 at 6:30 pm. Music En Fuego @ The Silas Bronson Library- 267 Grand Street Admission is Free Music of Latin America will be presented at the Silas Bronson Library. The Program will feature Dave Giardina and the Goza Latin Band performing music and dance rhythms from Latin America, Brazil, and Spain. For more information please call, 203-574-8233

   Wednesday, September 11– 12:30 pm. & 6:30 pm., Gabriela Garcia Medina- International Spoken Word Artist, UCONN- Waterbury Campus Free Admission
Film Workshop- 12:30pm Room 102 Performance- 6:30pm Multi-Purpose Room.
Few spoken word artist can speak of Revolution and do it with style. Gabriela is one of
them. Born to Cuban parents, she has seen the world through eyes most haven’t. As an
international spoken word artist and award-winning poet, her poetry has taken her to
places such as South Africa, Cuba, Brazil, Switzerland and all over the United States.
Her poetry ranges from topics as serious as the social injustices we all face to talking
about her lingerie.

   Friday, September 20 from 5:30 pm. -9:00 pm. The Rivera Memorial Foundation Wine Tasting Event @ The “Old Waterville” Fire House on Thomaston Avenue The event usually provides over 30 samples of wine, along with samples of Seasonal Beers and microbrews. The Old Waterville Firehouse- 1551 Thomaston Avenue. Tickets are $25. All proceeds from the fundraiser will go towards the RMF Scholarship Fund. For more information please call, 203-591-8841.

   Saturday, September 21 from 10 am. -7 pm. Festival Cultural Mexicano Library Park, Waterbury. Today Mexican Independence Day is a major celebration in Mexico. It is celebrated with a fiesta (party). The celebrating begins on September 15 (the eve of Independence Day) where crowds of people gather in the zocalos (town meeting place) of cities, towns, and villages. In Mexico City a huge square is decorated with flags, flowers and lights of red, white, and green. For more information please call, 203-223-3202.

   Mondays, September, 23 – October 28, 6:30 pm. – 8:00 pm. Alisa’s House of Salsa @ The Mattatuck Museum Members $15/person or $25 per couple/Non-members $20/person or $30 per couple. Sign up for one or the full six-week session and unleash your dancing moves in the Museum’s performing arts center. To register please call, 203.753.0381, ext. 110. For more information visit,

  Wednesday, September 25, 7:00 pm. – 8:00 pm. National Credit Masters- Credit Education Seminar Series. Admission is Free- 21 West Main Street, 4th Floor- Media Room Sign up for an amazing seminar on “How to Build your Credit or Improve your Credit Score”. Credit Education will be presented by Daniel Brenes. For more information please, call 203-437- 9020 or email Seating is limited, call today.

   Friday, September 27 at 7 pm. Hispanic Coalition- Coqui Awards, Dinner and Dance La Bella Vista, Waterbury $50pp Advanced Purchase Only The Hispanic Coalition of Greater Waterbury, Inc., has been in existence since 1988. Join us as we celebrate 25 Years of providing needed services as identified by our community. We provide these services through advocacy, collaboration and creating self-sustaining entities to enhance the well-being of our Hispanic families. For ticket information please call, 203-754-6172.

  Sunday, September 29 at 11:30 am. Unidos En Oracion, Shekinah Christian Church, 474 North Main Street This prayer service will focus on praying for a Unified Community. Let us come together and hold hands with the purpose of allowing God to fulfill his will, and give Him thanks for our blessings. Let us pray so that His grace and mercy be upon us.
Monday October 7, 5:00 pm. – 6:30 pm. Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration F.J. Kingsbury School- 220 Columbia Boulevard. For more information please call 203-574-8172

   Wednesday, October 9 at 2:30 pm Road to Public Office: Mayor Pedro E. Segarra Naugatuck Valley Community College. Playbox Theater Pedro E. Segarra is the 66th Mayor of the City of Hartford. He is the product of public schools, and understands the importance of a high quality education and equal opportunities for all. Celebrate with us Hispanic Heritage Month and learn more about the Mayor’s journey to success. Free and Open to the Public. For directions and campus map visit our website NVCC/Maps-Directions

   Thursday, October 10, 6:00 pm. – 8:00 pm. National Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration, Cigars & Wine The Mattatuck Museum $10 donation Partnering with the Hispanic Coalition of Greater Waterbury, the Museum invites you to join us for food, wine and cigars in the courtyard. Network with members of the Latino business community as well as learn how to get more involved in the development of Latino Waterbury businesses. To RSVP, please call 203.753.0381, ext. 110.

   Wednesday, October 16th at 2:00 pm. Prietica- Marianela Medrano @ Naugatuck Valley Community College College Library Fourth Floor L-410 A dialogue with author Marianela Medrano on reclaiming ancestral legacy and redressing history. “Prietica” is Marianela’ s most recent work. She will speak about how children’s books can be instructive as well as imaginative and fun. Free and Open to the Public. For directions and campus map visit our website NVCC/Maps-Directions

   Saturday, October 19 from 8 pm. – 11 pm. The Hispanic Coalition, the Mattatuck Museum, and Luna Productions Present…Latino Comedy Show for a Cause @ The Mattatuck Museum $25 Advanced Purchase/ $35 At the Door Come out and join us as we close the 2013 Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration with a Bang. Latino Comedy with a Cause promises to be an event you don’t want to miss. All proceeds from the event will benefit the Educational Programs at The Hispanic Coalition, and The Mattatuck Museum. For more information please call 203.753.0381, ext. 110

   Thursday, November 14 at 7:00 p.m. Junot Díaz @ Naugatuck Valley Community College. Mainstage Sponsored by the Office of the President. Junot Díaz was born in the Dominican Republic and raised in New Jersey. He is the author of the critically acclaimed Drown; The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, which won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award; and This Is How You Lose Her, a New York Times bestseller and National Book Award finalist. Free and Open to the Public. For directions and campus map visit our website NVCC/Maps-Directions