The City of San Antonio (COSA) and Diez y Seis de Septiembre Commission join forces to prepare and celebrate the citywide commemoration of the 207th anniversary of Mexico’s independence from Spain.
In the middle of September and early October, COSA and the Commission will be hosting educational and cultural programming for all ages. For the past 23 years, COSA has celebrated the Diez y Seis de Septiembre in recognition of San Antonio’s deep-rooted history and cultural connections to Mexico.
For 2017, Mayor Ron Nirenberg created a proclamation, read by District 1 Councilman and honorary Commission Chair Roberto C. Treviño, that declared September 16 as Diez y Seis de Septiembre day in San Antonio.
“San Antonio’s cherished connection to Mexico is one that we continue to celebrate today,” said Treviño (D1). “The annual Diez y Seis de Septiembre commemoration is a celebration of the traditions and influences still evident today. Now, it is important that we continue to share the importance of this historical and cultural exchange with newer generations.”
On Sep. 16, 1810, Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, a man known as the Father of Mexico’s Independence, initiated the fight for freedom as he made a grito, which sparked the beginning of Mexico’s battle for independence from Spain. The anniversary of this major event is celebrated as Mexican Independence Day.
In order to maintain the historical aspect of Diez y Seis de Septiembre, League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) is encouraging schools to put Hispanic history in the curriculum. Lupe Torres, LULAC State Director, emphasized the importance that these events will be a focal point to start highlighting education outside the classroom.
“[LULAC] want this to be an education to let the young people know that at one time students were not allowed to speak Spanish, not know anything the history, significance and contribution made in this country,” said Torres. They owned one fourth of the Western U.S.. We need to be part of this wealth in culture and diversity that is a part of your heritage and filter it down. This will be a lesson to be culturally aware of whom we are, as a community.”
There are currently 63.2 percent of Hispanics that live in San Antonio as of 2017, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. It was estimated last year that the number of Hispanics is expected to grow to over two million people by 2050, according to the Texas Demographic Center.
The City of San Antonio Diez y Seis de Septiembre Commission was established in 1994. Through its vision and leadership, the Commission hosts cultural events, children and senior citizen programs, and educational endeavors that take place throughout the city as part of the official annual commemoration in San Antonio.
Each event is created to promote an understanding of the historical significance of Mexico’s Day of Independence. This celebration will then lead us next year, when the city will celebrate the Tricentennial that honors the rich past and future that focuses on innovation and livability.
“It ties in from the beginning of the development of the South Texas Force. It ties in with the culture that we still are making sure that the history is constantly implanted here,” said Lourdes Galvan, commissioner for the Diez y Seis de Septiembre. “We all come from Mexican descendants and we are learning about in the past and we must make sure that history continues.”
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