Grapevine, Texas, Recognizes Hispanic Heritage Month with Inaugural Celebra Grapevine Event
26 Sep 2022
Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15 by celebrating the histories, cultures, and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. The observance started as a week in 1968 under President Lyndon Johnson and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to a 30-day period. Now, Grapevine, Texas, will have its very own celebration! The inaugural Celebra Grapevine is kicking off October 16, 3–6 p.m., in Peace Square, 815 South Main Street.
Celebra Grapevine will be a celebration for the community, by the community, with learning and sharing opportunities not only across cultures but also across generations. The event is sponsored by Latinos in Grapevine, along with the Grapevine Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, 121 Community Church, First Baptist Church, and the Grapevine Community Outreach Center.
Yvette Lopez, founder of Latinos in Grapevine, shared about some of the events that will liven up the day. “Mexican and Peruvian folkloric dance troupes will perform, including our very own 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders from Silver Lake and Timberline schools. A flash mob experience will allow for anyone, especially the younger generations, to join in. Country booths will present an opportunity for attendees to learn about the countries from parents and youth, both in English and Spanish. We will also be awarding a Hispanic Heritage Lifetime Achievement Award for the first time. We are still looking for sponsors and hope everyone will visit the website latinosingrapevine.org to obtain more information and updates.”
There are other Hispanic Heritage events occurring in the City, such as Storytime in Español at the Grapevine Library, tours in Spanish at the House of Shine, and a special Hispanic Heritage flavor cooked up by Buzzed Bill on Main Street. “We hope that next year, everyone will find innovative ways from their unique spaces to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, so it continues to be an effort that is for the community by the community,” said Lopez.
“We, as a nation, celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month to recognize the achievements and contributions of Hispanic American champions who have inspired others to achieve success,” said Lopez. “Celebra (to Celebrate in Spanish) gives us the opportunity to increase understanding and celebrate our community and all of those who make up the amazing community, which is the City of Grapevine. Some may view this as a celebration of Latinos for Latinos, and that is not what this is. This is a celebration of who we are, as diverse and beautiful as that is, and the quality of life we all enjoy here in Grapevine.”
Lopez explained further about her inspiration to launch Celebra in Grapevine. “For my entire career, I've designed and implemented projects that promote information-sharing and building bridges between groups of individuals with varied experiences/perspectives. For years I've watched neighboring cities celebrate Hispanic Heritage with less Latino representation than we have in Grapevine. Our partners, some of which have individually held different events that highlight the culture and diversity in the City, all expressed enthusiasm at the idea of partnering with Latinos in Grapevine to make this a reality.”
Celebra Grapevine developed out of Lopez’s organization, Latinos in Grapevine — an initiative brought about during the pandemic to create a sense of community and build bridges to the Latino Community in Grapevine. “There are so many things that we take for granted in how we maneuver through society and that, for immigrants, represent generational barriers to success, particularly in the Latino population, who not only face language barriers but lack knowledge, access to information, and many times, fear the unknown,” said Lopez. “When I started Latinos in Grapevine, I thought it a way to be a part of the solution, a bridge, not only for opportunity and access, but to address valid concerns, such as disciplinary issues in the school system (although Latinos are 35–40 percent of the population, they represent 50 percent of the disciplinary issues in GCISD schools), or clean up of certain neighborhoods, etc..”
“Latinos represent approximately 35–40 percent of the population, based on Census and GCISD student data, and differ greatly even amongst ourselves with regard to education and socioeconomic status,” said Lopez. “There are individuals who may have just moved to Grapevine from another country and others who were born in this country to Spanish-speaking immigrants. There are some who don’t know English, but back in their countries were professionals with medical and engineering degrees. Latinos support the hospitality industry here in Grapevine, but we are also doctors, lawyers, and business owners. Many things separate us as a society as a whole, and even Latinos who speak the same language, are divided because of differences in culture and status.”
“During the pandemic in 2021, I thought it an opportune time to refocus efforts on building community, communication, and sharing of knowledge and expertise to help others,” said Lopez. “I am a barred attorney and certified mediator with expertise in international affairs, project design, and implementation. I am also proud to be Latina. On occasion, I have been told that I have to pick one — to be American or Dominican. I am thankful to live in a country that has allowed me the benefit of selecting the best parts of both cultures, both of which form part of my identity.”
Latinos in Grapevine has forged partnerships with the Grapevine Police Department and the Grapevine-Colleyville Independent School District.
“Grapevine Police Department, through its Community Outreach Center, has been extremely helpful, not only providing Spanish Speaking officers to teach the community and build a relationship of trust but also by allowing the use of facilities in which these sessions are taught,” said Lopez.
“GCISD also has been an invaluable partner, providing sessions in Spanish that support student success (once provided within GCISD as Exito Hispano) to give parents the necessary tools to maneuver through the school system and help students navigate and understand the college admissions process. Getting information to parents, so they are aware of the sessions, is also a role in which both partners are fundamental, since they have a captive audience.”
“Latinos in Grapevine has partnered with GCISD and the Grapevine Community Outreach Center to bring a series of sessions (topics such as Interacting with Police: Rights and Responsibilities, Getting Involved in the Community and its benefits, Parenting, Emotional Intelligence, Immigration and Pathways to Citizenship, etc.) and create a feedback loop so that the sessions are filling information gaps for this particular segment of the community in Spanish,” said Lopez. “There has been overwhelming positive feedback, and our panelists have shared information and resources that I, even after ten years in Grapevine, did not know.”
For more information about Latinos in Grapevine, visit the website or connect by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit Celebra Grapevine for details about parking, events, and even choreography for the flashmob. Sponsor, vendor, and volunteer forms are available.