Puerto Rican Cultural Center Executive Director Keynotes City of Cleveland, Ohio Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration

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The City of Cleveland honored the contributions of Latinos with a Saturday, Sept. 14, 2013 with an evening gala that featured Key Note Speaker, Jose E. Lopez, Executive Director of the Puerto Rican Cultural Center-Juan Antonio Corretjer. Professor Lopez spoke about the many contributions that Latinos have made across the United States; in particular, the important role that we played in the national presidential campaign that re-elected President Obama. As he touched on the topic of Immigration Reform, the approximately 350 people in attendance, were brought to their feet giving Professor Lopez a standing ovation after he transported us on a cultural and musical tour of the Americas that touched on the traditions of the Sephardic Jews and of the Moors in Spain to that of Africa, the Caribbean and Latin America and highlighted the significance of the socio-political inter-connections of these contributions.

Emphasizing that this, our human and cultural mosaics, had made us the 1st global human identity on earth, and that, that historical identity should inform how we can be transformational agents of change in the US. He focused on how the Monroe Doctrine in 1923, had made Latin America the US “backyard”, and that demographically, we are now in the US “living room”.

Following the theme of the event “Our Time”, he called on how Latinos are changing the discourse on citizenship, by advocating for “cultural citizenship” which embraces diversity, multi-lingualism and multi-culturalism.

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