Portales to mark Mexican Independence Day

Tony Parra: PNT Staff Writer

Hispanics from around the state of New Mexico will gather in Portales for many of the festivities celebrating Mexican Independence Day on Thursday, Friday and Sunday.

There will be a ballet folklorico from Miguel Caro and his dancers from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Dallan Sanders patio area behind the Campus Union Building on the Eastern New Mexico University campus. There will be fireworks, which will be the colors of the Mexican flag, red, white and green, after the ballet folklorico at approximately 8 p.m.

It is part of a two-day celebration of Mexican Independence Day.

“Miguel Caro came from Mexico with a dream to form ballet folklorico,” Nancy Varelas of the Hispanic Affairs office of ENMU said. “The ballet folklorico dance is for all ages.”

Varelas said the dresses are authentic from Jalisco, Mexico and some of the dresses even have the Mexican eagle on the front.

It is one of many events for Hispanic Heritage month which continues through Oct. 15th commemorating independence days for many Latin American countries.

Another major event celebrating Mexican Independence Day is the Latino Summit from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday in the Campus Union Ballroom on the ENMU Campus.

“We anticipate having 400 students from the area at the Latino Leadership Summit,” Varelas said. “We are going to have 100 students from the Portales School District and 100 students from the Clovis School District.”

Diego Espinoza, an organizer of the event, said the high school students are from West Mesa High in Albuquerque, Espanola Valley, Roswell, Clovis and Portales. Espinoza said approximately 90 percent of the students who have registered are Hispanics.

One of the guest speakers is Christian Lozano of the National Council de La Raza from Washington D.C. The NCLR is the largest national constituency-based Hispanic organization in Washington, D.C. representing the Hispanic community.

Espinoza, an ENMU student regent, said he discussed with ENMU President Steven Gamble and Ronnie Birdsong, vice president for University Relations and Enrollment Services ways to attract more Hispanic students to ENMU.

“My emotions are flying high,” Espinoza said about the Latino Summit. “They said, ‘Let’s have people in leadership roles come down to Eastern. We wanted the students to experience the leaders, first-hand. We wanted to do something better for them.”

David Briseno, principal at La Casita Elementary in Clovis, will talk to young Hispanics from eastern New Mexico about the importance of getting an education.

Rep. Jose Campos, D-Santa Rosa, will also talk to the young Hispanics about politics. Augustine Garcia founder of Lambda Theta Phi Latin fraternity from Miami will also speak to the high school students.

Other festivities celebrating Mexican Independence Day will take place from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Sunday. Pilar Moreno of Portales, one of the organizers, said there will be piñatas, food and music at Lindsey Park on Sunday afternoon. Moreno said the “Dia de Las Familias” will be combined with the Mexican Independence Day celebration.

Varelas said to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month there will be activities throughout a 30-day segment celebrating the culture of Latin countries. Independence Day for Belize, Chile and Mexico took place within Sept. 15th to Oct. 15th.
Throughout the 30 days the Campus Union Lobby on the ENMU campus will be decorated with flags, posters and informational pieces on a different Latin country. For example Argentina Day on Monday, Chile Day on Wednesday, Bolivia Day on Sept. 22 and Costa Rica Day on Feb. 23.

Mexican Independence Day
Portales Activities
Schedule of Events

Eastern New Mexico University Campus
7 p.m. Ballet Folklorico de Miguel Caro Dallan Sanders Patio
8 p.m. Fireworks Dallan Sanders Patio
Eastern New Mexico University Campus
8 a.m. Registration/Information Campus Union Ballroom
9 a.m. Financial Aid Workshop Campus Union Ballroom
10 a.m. Welcome/Introduction Campus Union Ballroom
10:15 p.m. Latinos in America Campus Union Ballroom
Chrisitan Lozano of the National Council de La Raza
11 a.m. Latinos and Education Campus Union Ballroom
David Briseno, La Casita Elementary principal
Noon Latinos and Politics (Lunch) Campus Union Ballroom
Jose Campos, state representative, D-Santa Rosa
2:15 p.m. Latinization of America Campus Union Ballroom
Augustine “Gus” Garcia, founder of Lambda Theta Phi Latin Fraternity
3:30 p.m. Break Out Sessions Campus Union Ballroom
Lindsey Park
4 p.m. to 11 p.m. Dia De Las Familias Lindsey Park
There will be entertainment, food and games.