The City Has Numerous Activities To Celebrate Latinos and Their History
By Dolores Quintana
The City Council of Santa Monica officially declared the period from September 15 to October 15 as Hispanic Heritage Month on Tuesday, September 12. The proclamation was marked by reading and remarks led by Mayor Gleam Davis, along with contributions from teachers, students, and representatives from Santa Monica High School (Samohi).
Mayor Davis emphasized the vital role of Latinas/os in the community, recognizing their enduring contributions and the historical significance of the Spanish language in the city’s identity. She noted the deep-rooted connection to the indigenous languages of the Gabrielino-Tongva and Chumash peoples, who originally inhabited the land.
“Latinos have been part of and are valued in our community,” Mayor Gleam Davis said. “While we recognize that the indigenous languages of the Gabrielino-Tongva and Chumash were first spoken for thousands of years on the land we occupy, the Spanish language is ingrained in the name of our city and frequented streets, from the original Mexican 1839 land grant name, Rancho San Vicente y Santa Mónica, to Pico Boulevard, San Vicente Boulevard, and Montana Avenue. Our city has long been enriched by the contributions, heritage, and traditions of Latinas/os and will continue to be well into the future.”
In conjunction with the proclamation, the Santa Monica Public Library is hosting a series of family-friendly activities throughout the month to honor Hispanic Heritage, including:
Hispanic Heritage Month Booklists:
Explore a curated selection of books celebrating the histories, cultures, and contributions of people from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America, available for borrowing or recommendations to friends and family.
- Hispanic Heritage Month for Kids
- Hispanic Heritage Month Middle-Grade Books
- Hispanic Heritage Month Books for Teens
- Hispanic Heritage Month Books for Adults
Hispanic Heritage Month Kids Take & Make Kit: Quetzal Bird: This hands-on kit, currently available, provides the supplies needed to create a quetzal bird—a sacred creature in the tropical forests of Central America for the ancient Maya and Aztec peoples. A learning sheet accompanies the kit to encourage further discovery. Kits can be obtained at the Main Library Youth Services desk and all branch locations while supplies last.
Mystery Book Group Discussion: “Velvet Was the Night” by Silvia Moreno-Garcia: Scheduled for Tuesday, September 19, from 7 to 8 p.m. This Zoom discussion invites participants to explore the 1970s Mexico City setting of “Velvet Was the Night,” a captivating novel by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. Maite, a secretary enamored with romance novels, embarks on a quest to find her missing neighbor, Leonora, an art student. Interested parties can obtain the Zoom link by contacting email@example.com.
Cuentos para pequeños: Set for Jueves, 21 de septiembre, 10:30 a 11 a.m. at Pico Branch Library, The Annex. This event offers a delightful session of Spanish-language storytelling, rhymes, and songs for children aged 2-5 years. Más información is available aquí.
Hispanic Heritage Month Movie Screening: “Half Brothers” (2020): To be held on Tuesday, September 26, from 5 to 7 p.m. at The Annex at the Pico Branch Library, this event celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month with a screening of the heartwarming comedy “Half Brothers.” The film follows the journey of an uptight Mexican businessman forced to embark on a cross-country road trip with his goofy American half-sibling. The screening will be followed by a Q&A session with the film’s writer, Eduardo Cisneros. Details can be found aquí.
Stories from Latin America with Olga Loya: Taking place on Friday, September 29, from 10:30 to 11:15 a.m. at the Pico Branch Library. This event celebrates the magic of “Los cuentos” (stories) with folktales addressing self-image and the power of ancient myths in understanding the present. Participants will gain insights into Latina/o culture while exploring their own identities. For further information, click here.
Hispanic Heritage Month Teen Take & Make Kit: Ceramic Calaveras: Commencing on Monday, October 2, this kit allows participants to delve into the cultural significance of Calaveras (skulls) and decorate one of their own. Registered teen volunteers can earn one hour of community service by decorating a Calavera and adding it to the Main Library’s ofrenda for Día de los Muertos. Kits can be collected at the Main Library Youth Services desk and all branch locations while supplies last. This activity is suitable for ages 11-18. For more information, click here.