Hispanic Heritage Month kicked off Friday at the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library. A soaring rendition of the National Anthem by Herman Badillo Bilingual Academy Assistant Principal Maria Cala was followed by remarks by local leaders including Congressman Brian Higgins.
Much of the talk during the ceremony was about the continued redeployment of the Niagara Street corridor. Hispanic Heritage Vice-Secretary Amy Casillias-Osorio said there are a lot of wonderful things going on in the largely Hispanic neighborhoods on Buffalo’s West Side.
“This is such a diverse project,” she said of the redevelopment. “We have partners from everywhere. Like I said, we know it takes a village.”
A huge addition to the redevelopment is the creation of a Hispanic Cultural Heritage Institute, which will be situated at the corner of Niagara and Hudson, and act as cultural hub for the Hispanic Heritage District.
Heritage Council President Casimiro D. Rodriguez has grand visions for the institute.
“We hope to be a national model where we can share and celebrate the contribution of the Hispanic community in Western New York,” he said. “From the late 1800’s to the present.”
Rodriguez said the $10 million dollar institute will have a theater, art and history museum, event space, media center, and more. He said underrepresentation in local media makes building tv and radio studios in the institute very attractive.
Hispanic Heritage Month runs through the end of October. There is over 20 events planned, city-wide, including music, dance and literacy programs, the science of Puerto Rican cooking at the Science Museum and two concerts by the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. In conjunction with Hispanic Heritage Month, WNED is airing related programming begging in mid-September. For more information on these programs, please visit wned.org.