By Sabrina Monteiro
On October 7, the North Shore Hispanic Association celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month for the 6th consecutive year in Malden. Among the local figures attending was Mayor Gary Christenson, who gave a speech about the importance of this celebration.
“They say to never underestimate the power of music,” Mayor Christenson said, excited about the opportunity to showcase Hispanic culture in Malden. He finished by saying, “Gracias por estar aquí y disfruten el evento.”
Soon enough, everyone was on the dance floor.
Iliana Sanchez, the 2023 Preteen Miss Honduras winner, began the festivities with her rendition of “I Am Woman.” Other performers followed, including Pumawari Tusuy, a traditional Peruvian dance group from the Boston area.
Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated from September 15th to October 15th. The initiation of this celebration first began in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson. It then expanded into the span of a month by President Ronald Reagan and turned into a law on August 17, 1988.
The event in Malden was held at the Malden Senior/Teen Center, which was outfitted with huge flags representing Chile, Honduras, and the Dominican Republic. Local vendors sold home/handmade jewelry, baked goods, art, clothes, and purses, while organizations such as the Cambridge Health Alliance (CHA) were also represented.
The set-up at the front entrance. Photo by Sabrina Monteiro.
At the start of the event, Karen Colón Hayes, Malden Councillor-at-large and one of the board members for the North Shore Hispanic Association (NSHA), asked volunteers to each grab a flag, including many others representing Spanish-speaking countries, and take it outside to start the parade. Gladys Rivera Rogers, NSHA president, also took part in this. The parade officially began at 1 p.m., and was led by the 2023 Miss Honduras winners, followed by the Pumawari Tusuya dance group, and the remainder of volunteers. They walked down Pleasant Street raising their flags and inviting people on the streets to join the event.
The Malden community gathers for the parade. Photos by Sabrina Monteiro.
Afterwards, Hayes continued by reading aloud a Land Acknowledgement, followed by the official proclamation for Hispanic Heritage Month from the Malden City Council. Elena Martinez, the City of Malden’s Language Access Coordinator and another NSHA board member, then read aloud the same thing but translated it to Spanish. From that moment on, the performers took over, along with energized attendees who danced the rest of the afternoon away.
Video clips and editing by Anne D’Urso-Rose, Urban Media Arts