Sacred Heart Center celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month each year with the intention of educating about and celebrating the presence and contributions of Hispanic and Latino Americans to the United States, as well as to honor Latin American heritage and culture. This year, during the four weeks of this national celebration, from September 15 to October 15, Sacred Heart Center offered various events for the Richmond community.
A film series, documenting the 500 years of Latino presence in what is now the United States, was screened over three weeks, one evening in English and the next in Spanish, each week. Reactions of participants were, “I never realized that the first European language spoken in what is now the USA was Spanish!”; “Why wasn’t I taught in high school about César Chavez and Dolores Huerta and the Grape-pickers boycott to win a living wage for people who put the vegetables and fruits on our table?” and, “What a surprise to see the U.S. Department of Census prediction that by 2030 Latinos will make up a third of the US population.” Fascinating conversations followed each showing.
The Latino Leadership Institute received their certificates in Latino Leadership from the School of Professional/Continuing Studies of the University of Richmond.
A very celebrative event took place the evening of September 26, when thirteen members of the Latino Leadership Institute received their certificates in Latino Leadership from the School of Professional/Continuing Studies of the University of Richmond. During this three-semester, sixty-hour program, candidates explored the topic of servant leadership through the lens of Latino culture using The Power of Latino Leadership, by Juana Bordas. They learned or re-learned U.S. history from a Latino perspective with the PBS series, Latino Americans: The 500 year Legacy that Shaped a Nation. Community involvement and advocacy in the 2018 Virginia General Assembly enabled them to put their classroom learning into practice. They are now applying their leadership skills in various venues where the Latino community presence and voices are so needed, such as in local public schools, neighborhood groups and workers’ organizations.
The Hispanic Heritage Month celebration closed with performances in English and Spanish by Ernie G., one of the most well-known, multi-talented young Latino empowerment comedians and motivational speakers, whose motto is Transforming the World one laugh at a time. Ernie is a graduate of Loyola Marymount University. His comedy has been seen by millions on TV shows such as Comedy Central’s “Make Me Laugh,” and B.E.T.’s “Comic View”. He has developed his own unique form of comedy he calls “Latino Edutainment – Educating and Entertaining with a Latino Flavor!” Ernie spreads his message of Transformation through Laughter as a National Youth Speaker for the Hispanic Scholarship Fund. He shared his story and challenged his audience, especially the youth, to shine: “We were all meant to shine. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.”
Latino empowerment comedian and motivational speaker, Ernie G.
While nowhere near as large as in Los Angeles, New York or Raleigh, NC, the Latino population in Richmond continues to grow. Latino owned businesses, Latino professionals, and Latino students at all grade levels are a familiar part of the larger Richmond community. Sacred Heart Church’s Sunday Mass schedule includes two Masses in English and four in Spanish. Acknowledging, celebrating, and uplifting this presence is the mission of Sacred Heart Center.