COUNCILLOR CESAR PALACIO: The Ontario Legislature proclaims April as “Hispanic Heritage Month”

Toronto. It is with a tremendous sense of pride and satisfaction that I want to share with you a historical Bill was adopted today, December 03, 2009, at the Ontario Legislature. A Bill was adopted unanimously declaring the month of April as “Hispanic Heritage Month” and was presented by Tony Ruprecht, MPP for Davenport and Mike Colle MPP for Eglinton-Lawrence. The Bill was supported by eloquent speeches from members of all three Provincial Parties, recognizing our cultural, social and economic contribution to this great City, to this great Province!
Members of the Provincial Parliament put a lot of emphasis on particular areas of our contribution; including literature, arts, sports, film, commerce, gastronomy, science, music, technology, political participation, and leadership.
Proclaiming April as Hispanic Heritage Month is a significant moment in the history of our province, and the Hispanic Community.  It was noted that, “Our community is the fastest growing population in Ontario.  This Bill will be used as a tool to properly represent the history and heritage of the 23 Hispanic speaking countries, each of which is rich with their own culture and traditions”.

This historic moment for this noble cause is the result of the consistent commitment, and dedication of many community organizations, community leaders and the Spanish media. The recent Province-wide media campaign to collect signatures was extremely successful, enough to convince the Ontario Legislature that there is tremendous support from every corner of the Province urging the Government to legislate the month of April as the “Hispanic Heritage Month”

As many of you know, this noble idea has been floating around for more than 25 years. Today, it feels great! It feels fantastic that our dream has finally become a reality.

Having consulted with members, leaders, organizations and institutions of the Canadian Hispanic Community in Toronto, and Ontario, it was felt that it is not only desirable but important that “all things Hispanic” be celebrated in Ontario.

This first step is a huge step, that will give us an opportunity to celebrate our cultural roots and traditions that are already part of the Canadian-Hispanic cultural mosaic. The Hispanic Heritage Month celebrations will be incorporated into academic, cultural and artistic activities, and it is hoped that our schools, at all levels, will play a big role.

As we say “united we are stronger”.  This philosophy will help as move forward. What we need to do is rally community support towards formulating a holistic pragmatic approach that is transparent, representative, and clear.  This approach will assist us to articulate our social and physical infrastructure needs that are long over-due.

To ensure that these celebrations are effective, it is necessary that the proclamation of Hispanic Heritage Month is accompanied by a strong commitment by various mainstream communities and organizations, so that the celebrations will achieve our objectives and desired positive impacts.

Congratulations to all!

Cesar Palacio
Toronto City Councillor –Davenport

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