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By Elizabeth Real                        Follow East Palo Alto Today on
East Palo Alto Today           Facebook    Twitter         Blog
September 30, 2015                     
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Graphic courtesy of http://www.hispanicheritagemonth.org



If you haven’t already heard, September 15 through October 15 is Latino/a Culture and History Month. Council member Ruben Abrica read the proclamation with the announcement during the East Palo Alto City Council meeting on Tuesday September 15, the start of the observance.

The month is also known as Hispanic Heritage Month. In speaking about East Palo Alto's recognition of the month, Abrica said that he helped to draft the proclamation and he joked that “anything that’s not right, you can complain to me about it.”

The proclamation states that the City of East Palo Alto recognizes, “the contributions made by Latino/a individuals and organizations to the nation, state, and local communities, including to the City of East Palo Alto and whereas this month also serves as a time of study, reflection, and positive action on issues of concern to the Latino/a and overall community be they in education, housing, health care, immigration, and politics or economics.”

Additionally, the proclamation also states that “the recent rise of anti-Latino, anti-Mexican, and anti-immigrant racism in the nation challenges not only the Latino community, but everyone to resist and defend people against all forms of oppression.”

Upon reading the proclamation, Abrica also took the opportunity to comment on the issue of racism, given the recent headlines regarding Donald Trump’s racist comments about Mexicans. Abrica expressed his concern about the nation’s reaction to Trump’s comments. He stated, "It’s interesting to observe because some scholars have mentioned that it’s almost an accepted fact. You can say those things and it’s okay and it’s not that important. But, obviously, to us in the Mexican-American community, it’s been a very serious thing.”

Abrica also offered a brief history lesson to point out some of the current absurdities regarding immigration. “During the 1930s, another period of anti-Mexican wave, several hundred thousand U.S. citizens of Mexican descent were actually taken back to Mexico,” Abrica said. He pointed out that one of the arguments for this decision was that “it’s good to keep the family together and Mexicans like to keep their family together, so let’s just send them all back, including U.S. citizens against their will.”

Vice Mayor Rutherford expressed her appreciation for Abrica’s comments and said that they could be applied “across the board to every race.”

Elizabeth Real recently completed a journalism internship at East Palo Alto Today. She can be reached by email at epatoday@epatoday.org