Hispanic Development Council – Consejo de Desarrollo Hispano
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Hispanic Heritage Month – October 2014

We are Enshrining the Latin Hispanic Culture in the foundations of the City of Toronto: the celebration of the Hispanic Heritage Month in October 2014 and beyond.

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What defines a community culture are a series of shared elements such as history, geographic location, lived experiences, language, heritage, and to some extent a common sense of destiny. Each of these elements would take usually many generations to come to some sense of definition and becoming a second nature, a “second skin” to that particular community or set of individuals. In regular circumstances that is.

For Latino Hispanics in Canada, the process of becoming a community or even something closer to a nation within Canada has been usually part of the imaginary of the community. From more academic and intellectual notions to the most popular conceptions we have collectively embraced the concept, albeit with no clear definition of what it is. A key formative notion though is that we all share things in common beginning by the language and that to a great extent we should be a single articulate group; this is expected from us as well from outside the community. Our common Spanish language comes from our colonial history, and a fundamental vector of our community’s origin is conceived within that same colonial experience, in particular some sort of shared kaleidoscopic national vision that runs through Latin America.

Now in Canada, we are making efforts to come to terms with that collective history and making it understandable, audible, visible, recognizable and maneuverable first to ourselves and second to our co Canadian communities. Why is this important and what defines the urgency on this discussion? In one word identity. In an empirical direction, in which overtly or non, a challenge we currently face is the politization of ethnicity or diverse identities within the Canadian context where we need to prove constantly that as a community we are here to stay and participate in the affairs of the nation with a degree of contribution, determination and direction. We know that our numbers are becoming significant from a demographic perspective so we have achieved something already, but this is not enough. To imprint our footprint in Canada as a community we need to achieve first the property of our cultural and linguistic patrimony, and in order to do so we must initiate the negotiation of our differences and arriving at some intellectual juncture that would allow us to build the sustainable base for full participation in the Canadian experience… no small challenge indeed.

In concrete terms, by agreeing to work together in the framework of a Hispanic Heritage Month in Toronto since 2008 we are constructing the foundation for a larger and permanent engaged community in Canada. As we face the Pan Am games 2015, this is the time to advance this work further. As Pan American communities that have contributed to the games, we are kin to see investment in the community beyond 2015. The most important opportunity to do this is the enshrining of Hispanic Heritage Month permanently in the context of the City for years to come. Hence, we seek the investment in this multi event activity by the City of Toronto, community and private sector.