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La Casita Cultural Center to Observe National Hispanic Heritage Month

Latinos in the U.S. Armed Forces and their families to be honored at La Casita

Aug 7, 2014 | Article by: Sarah Scalese

December 15, 1961- From left to right: Governor of Puerto Rico Luis Muñoz Marín, Colonel Fernando Chardón, and President John F. Kennedy during JFK's historic visit to the Island.

La Casita Cultural Center, a program of The College of Arts and Sciences at Syracuse University, will honor Hispanic veterans and their families during National Hispanic Heritage Month 2014, which is observed from September 15 to October 15.

To kick off the month-long celebration, La Casita will host the opening reception of what has become its yearly signature exhibit: Balcón Criollo on Friday, September 19 at 6:00 p.m. Inspired by the work of Puerto Rican artist, Pepón Osorio, the 2014 gallery-wide installation will pay special tribute to Hispanics in active duty and veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces by showcasing memorabilia of these proud patriots and their families. The Balcón Criollo exhibit runs through December 12, 2014.

“I applaud this initiative. It is very important to highlight the historical contributions that our Hispanic military have made, often at the cost of their own lives.” stated U.S. Army Brigadier General Héctor López from Puerto Rico, also a Syracuse University graduate from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs’ National Security Manager Course Fellowship Program.

“We are immensely proud of our history and our troops. This profound sentiment is an essential part of our tradition, our character, and our legacy,” said Tere Paniagua, Executive Director of Cultural Engagement for the Hispanic Community at Syracuse University’s College of Arts and Sciences.

From left to right SGT Agosto, LTC Hector Lopez (now a Brigadier General), CPT Piazza, and SFC Javier Colon in Iraq 2003-2004.

La Casita will also host a series of gatherings where community members on and off campus will gather to share their stories. These sessions will be documented and preserved in La Casita Library’s Cultural Heritage Archive. Throughout the four weeks, celebratory events will include Caribbean Cuisine tastings, a Domino Tournament, and a documentary film screenings followed by discussion with writers, directors and military veterans. The observation of Hispanic Heritage Month will be capped off with the much anticipated Bomba & Plena Festival, with performances by local musician Edgar Pagán and his new Pagán Bombé, La Casita’s own Bomba & Plena Dance Troupe and the Syracuse University student group Raíces.

All program events are free of charge and open to the public, with free parking available. For a complete listing of all events, please click here


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Sarah Scalese