Inside Out: A Hispanic Cultures Independence Day Celebration in West Brighton

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Editor’s Note: Welcome to Inside Out, our weekly roundup of stories about Staten Islanders who make waves, are seen, who support our community, and who simply make our borough a special place to live. Got a story for Inside Out? Email Carol Ann Benanti at benanti@siadvance.com.

Children dressed in colorful costumes from their homelands perform during Hispanic Heritage Month and Independence Day in Mexico and other countries in South and Central America at Notre Dame du Mont Carmel-St. Benedicta RC Church in West Brighton. (Staten Island Advance / Carol Ann Benanti) Staten Island Advance

STATEN ISLAND, NY – Our Lady of Carmel / St. West Brighton’s Benedicta RC Church came to life last week with the sights and sounds of Latin America. Some 250 revelers celebrated the start of Hispanic Heritage Month and Independence Day in Mexico and other countries in South and Central America.

A celebration of Staten Island’s Hispanic heritage is sponsored annually by the Staten Island Immigrants Council and Communities United for Respect and Trust – and this year with El Centro del Inmigrante, Our Lady of Good Counsel Church, St. Clements – St. Michael’s RC Church and others, the event was bigger and better than ever.

Hispanic Festival in West Brighton

Dancers pose for the crowd of about 250 people at the Hispanic Festival. (Staten Island Advance / Carol Ann Benanti) Staten Island Advance

Bringing people together to eat and have fun and celebrate the spirit of community is always a much anticipated occasion, but when it commemorates a historic milestone, it becomes all the more meaningful.

Hispanic Festival in West Brighton

Hispanic dancers perform during the celebration. (Staten Island Advance / Carol Ann Benanti) Staten Island Advance

Participants from all age groups enjoyed traditional music, a variety of food from their country – and plenty of ice cream – free school supplies and pajamas for children, and gambling, in addition to the handout. face masks and information on COVID-19 prevention and how to stay safe during the pandemic. Free COVID-19 vaccines were also offered.

Live mariachi bands and three indigenous dance troupes were also present.

To the applause of the crowd, indigenous performers Nuu Davi dressed in pre-Columbian era costumes, Mariachi Loco played the trumpet and guitar wearing the sombrero hats and dapper outfits that have become synonymous with Mexico, and the Guadalupano Ballet and Chinelos de Morelos twirled their skirts for the patting of shiny shoes, showing off traditional dances.

Organizations, health representatives and municipal agencies were also on hand to keep everyone informed.

Among those in attendance were NY Project Hope, Catholic Charities, UAU, Human Rights, Office of District Attorney, Contract Tracing, and volunteers from the Project Hospitality Help Center.

Hispanic Festival in West Brighton

Christopher Reies, 12, from Goju-RYU Karate broke wooden planks which were set on fire. (Staten Island Advance / Carol Ann Benanti) Staten Island Advance

Hispanic Festival in West Brighton

Lauren Reyna, 12, student at Goju-RYU Karate broke wooden planks which were set on fire. (Staten Island Advance / Carol Ann Benanti) Staten Island Advance

Bearing witness to how cultures blend together in the United States, a self-defense class practiced martial arts in the Asian tradition, including karate demonstrations that wowed crowds when Goju-RYU Karate students smashed wooden planks that were set on fire.

The afternoon drew Staten Islanders from all walks of life to the vibrant festival of Hispanic history and culture that enriches so many aspects of who we all are as a nation.

Hispanic Festival in West Brighton

From the left, Sayuri Rivera and Fernando Saabedra. (Staten Island Advance / Carol Ann Benanti)Staten Island Advance

“Marking Hispanic heritage in such a folkloric way has brought families from many different countries and regions to dance, sing their families’ tunes, and share this cultural heritage with their children. And we vaccinated 120 people tonight, ”said Michelle Molina, co-executive director of El Centro del Inmigrante, the event’s main sponsor. “It was a night of dynamism, of life. We thank the SI Racial Inclusion and Equity Working Group for funding this event.

Hispanic Festival in West Brighton

From left to right, Vanessa Mendoza Ramos, Gina Mendoza and Giselle Alberto Sanchez are dressed in costumes from their home countries to perform during Hispanic Heritage Month and Independence Day in Mexico and other countries of South and Central America. (Staten Island Advance / Carol Ann Benanti) Staten Island Advance

A LITTLE HISTORY

September 15 to October 15 is Hispanic Heritage Month, a national tribute that has been observed since 1968, when the tradition began under President Lyndon Johnson. The month was extended by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period starting September 15 and ending October 15.

Hispanic Festival in West Brighton

Starting from the left, Yamilet Guzman and Monica Saabedra. (Staten Island Advance / Carol Ann Benanti) Staten Island Advance

September 15 is particularly important because it is the anniversary of the independence of Latin American countries like Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua.

Hispanic Festival in West Brighton

Melissa Contreras and her son, Liam Moran. (Staten Island Advance / Carol Ann Benanti) Staten Island Advance

In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and 18, respectively. Additionally, Columbus Day or Día de la Raza, which is October 12, falls within this 30 day period.

Hispanic Festival in West Brighton

The dancers gain the attention of the crowds as they perform dances from their home countries. (Staten Island Advance / Carol Ann Benanti) Staten Island Advance

Meanwhile, there are nationwide celebrations of the accomplishments of all Hispanic Americans and remarkable people who have made a big impact in the arts, science, business, politics and beyond.

Hispanic Festival in West Brighton

A family member and a baby enjoy all the amenities of the Hispanic Festival. (Staten Island Advance / Carol Ann Benanti) Staten Island Advance

Hispanics on Staten Island are the second largest resident population here, 19.6% in 2020, up from 17.3% in 2010, with thousands of doctors, nurses, and health aides during COVID, and many others working as teachers, in the military, and in jobs and professions that keep our economy strong.

Hispanic Festival in West Brighton

(Staten Isalnd Advance / Carol Ann Benanti) Staten Island Advance

Hispanic Festival in West Brighton

A fresco of Our Lady of Guadalupe created by artist Josue Manuel Mendez outside Our Lady of Mount Carmel-St. Benedicta RC Church, West Brighton. (Staten Island Advance / Carol Ann Benanti) Staten Island Advance

Hispanic Festival in West Brighton

Part of the Our Lady of Guadalupe mural created by artist Josue Manuel Mendez. (Staten Island Advance / Carol Ann Benanti) Staten Island Advance

CELEBRATIONS – SEPT. 19 TO SEPT. 25

SEVEN. 19

Happy Birthday Sunday to Mario DiCrocco, who shares the birthday with Lorraine Witzak, Colleen Marie Oldmixon, Andrew Lenza, Maritza Lobo, Arielle Budd and twins Victoria and Alyssa Micalizzi.

SEVEN. 20

Monday is birthday time for Deacon Novella Lawrence, Christ Episcopal Church, Jeffrey Spangler, Larry Mohr, Stephen Risley, Michael Mazella, Matthew Vincent Galant and twins Alexander and Gregory Acerra.

Happy wedding anniversary Tuesday to Barbara and Joe Aloe and to Kristen and Bryan Cytryn.

SEVEN. 21

Birthday greetings Tuesday to Joel Bibula, Marilyn Gianna, Julia Cauldwell, John S. Barton, Tiffany Cina, Lorraine Sullivan and Gary Gordon.

Best birthday wishes go to Al Schneider who celebrates his special birthday on Tuesday.

Tuesday is anniversary time for Bernardine and Walter Lazar and for Steve and Barbara Risley, who are celebrating their 36th birthday.

SEVEN. 22

Happy Birthday Wednesday to Matthew Sciarrino, Acting Judge, York State Supreme Court, Kings County, Ed Josey, NAACP President, Staten Island Branch, Mark Lauria, Snug Harbor Cultural Board Chair Center, Livingston, Vincent Bova, Fred Mavaro, Angélica Leigh Dunleavy, George Michael Mottola and Michael Scholl.

SEVEN. 23

Thursday is the birthday of Cas Bianowicz, Anthony Flagello Jr., Christopher C. Van Name, Shannon Davis, Bert Barry and Ryan Larson who turns 17.

Happy wedding anniversary Thursday to Grace and Sol Como and to Russell Palazzo and Linda Parisella-Palazzo and to Russell Palazzo, which celebrates its anniversary on September 24th.

SEVEN. 24

Happy Birthday Friday to Frank Angelico, Danny Beyar, Kamryn Brooke Miller, Andrea Hills, Peter Franco, Bridget McGuire, Michael Granucci and Jasmine Daniels who will be turning 17.

Happy Wedding Anniversary Friday to Lisa and Mike Cusick, Dolores and Ed Bowers, and Linda and Charles (Chuck) Aue.

SEVEN. 25

Birthday greetings on Saturday to Ronald Cerrachio, Chief Clerk of the Richmond County Surrogate Court, Terry Tarangelo, Marilyn Barry, Barbara Buckley, Robert Belliveau, Sally Ann Brittain, Lila Victoria, Sam Vella, Mildred Alpert, Annelise Lorentzen and Lorraine Ferraninni.


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