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Here are 5 meaningful ways to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month

Fort Worth Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month

Performers, speakers, and food trucks celebrate National Hispanic Heritage month in front of Fort Worth's City Hall.
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Performers, speakers, and food trucks celebrate National Hispanic Heritage month in front of Fort Worth's City Hall.

This weekend will mark the beginning of Hispanic Heritage Month, the 30th annual celebration that acknowledges the history and cultural contributions of Hispanic Americans in the United States.

The tradition originally started as Hispanic Heritage Week in 1968 under President Lyndon B. Johnson but it was expanded to an entire month in 1988 by President Ronald Reagan. It starts on Sept. 15 and ends on Oct. 15.

Today, Hispanics make up an estimated 17 percent of the U.S population. In Tarrant County, that number jumps to nearly 28 percent, and again, in Fort Worth, to 34 percent.

Want to join in the celebration? Here are a few things you can do in Fort Worth to recognize Hispanic-American heritage.

Learn about Hispanic history

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The Fort Worth Library will pay tribute to Fort Worth chicana activist Pauline Gasca Valenciano on Thursday, Oct. 11. Valenciano passed away this year in June after a lifelong career of serving the Hispanic community.

The program will be from 6-8 p.m. Thursday at the Central Library, 500 W. Third St., Fort Worth.

Experience parts of Hispanic culture

Mexicans and Mexican-Americans make up 30 of the 34 percent of Fort Worth’s Hispanic population.

Sep. 16 is Mexican Independence Day and you can join in the festivities at Comunidad 27’s Fiesta Northside or Juntos Se Puede’s Fiestas Patrias.

If you’re looking for something different, you could enroll in a salsa or bachata class at the Pura Vida Sanctuary and learn about the African roots in Latin American dance and music.

Support local businesses

Fort Worth was recently named one of the top 20 best cities for Hispanic business owners, according to WalletHub. Trade in your Taco Bell or Chipotle orders for authentic Hispanic foods. TCU professor Sean Crotty even mapped 125 taquerias in Fort Worth.

Looking for your next tattoo? Consider Wilfredo Colon, a Puerto Rican tattoo artist who restarted his career in Benbrook after he and his family had to leave the island due to Hurricane Maria.

If you want to get an early start on Christmas gift shopping, you can visit Mercadito Mundial. The owner, Olga Naranjo, personally visits communities in Mexico and Central America and handpicks the clothing, accessories and jewelry sold in the shop. The money goes right back to the communities she originally purchased from in an effort to curb poverty.

Olga Naranjo opened Mercadito Mundial in the Northside as a social enterprise where she buys artesanal crafts from Mexico and Central America and sells them in DFW. The profits are then donated back to the communities she bought them from.

Register to vote

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According to the new NBC Universal/Telemundo initiative, #TheFutureIsUS, in 20 years, one in four people will be Hispanic in the United States. Another study shows that there were at least 26.8 million Hispanics in the U.S. workforce. In short, the Hispanic population has a lot of consumer power that can become political power in the upcoming primary elections.

You can register to vote through the easy portal NBC and Telemundo created and directions are available in English and Spanish.

To learn about the local impact of the Latino vote, on September 18, the Sigma Lambda Alpha Sorority at TCU will host a panel featuring FWISD School Board Trustee Jacinto Ramos, Hispanic Women’s Network of Texas State Chair Anette Soto and others.

Learn Spanish!

Spanish is the most spoken language in the United States after English and DFW is home to the fifth largest Hispanic metro population in the country, according to Pew Research.

Learning a new language is proven to have economic, cognitive and social benefits, so what are you waiting for? The Fort Worth Library offers free classes on weekends.

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