Hispanic Heritage Month, an annual, national celebration of the history and culture of the U.S. Latinx and Hispanic communities, ends October 15. In this region, the celebration wraps up with its centerpiece event, the Diamante Awards, on October 13. It’s been a month of interesting and informative activities throughout the community, with a few gems left to go.
Celebrating independence and progress
Hispanic Heritage Month was introduced in June 1968. September 15th was chosen as its kickoff as it coincides with the Independence Day celebrations of five Central American neighbors – Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Today it runs from September 15th to October 15th. It serves as a way of commemorating how these communities have influenced and contributed to American society at large.
Diamante highlights the “diamonds” of our Latino community
Established in 1989 by IMAGE of Northwest Ohio, a Latino advocacy group. The Diamante Awards recognize individuals and their organizations for their outstanding achievements and service to Latinos.
In 2003, the Diamante Latino Scholars Campaign began raising scholarship funds for Latino youth who want to attend college or university in this region. The campaign is a one-of-a-kind collaboration among Bowling Green State University, the University of Toledo, Lourdes University and Owens Community College.
“The Diamante Awards are our annual fundraiser, from which we endow scholarships at these four universities,” explained Meyling Ruiz, president of the Latino Alliance of Northwest Ohio, the lead organization for the Diamante Awards. “Among our scholarship recipients have been undocumented and DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program students,” she said. “We’re increasing awareness of the need to award these scholarships,” as a lack of finances is often the reason Latino students do not attend or finish college.
Awards honor two community leaders
The 2022 Diamante Awards, Oct. 13th in the Bowen-Thompson Student Union’s Lenhart Grand Ballroom at Bowling Green State University, will honor these Latino community and professional leaders:
Latino Adult Professional – Louis Guardiola, MSW, a leader in behavioral health care throughout the community. A graduate of Cleveland State University, he has served as the
MSW Field Director at the University of Toledo since 2014, he has been involved in social work and chemical dependency management for more than 30 years.
Latino Adult Leadership – Joe Balderas, garden and property administrator with the Sofia Quintero Art and Cultural Center. With more than two decades of service within the Latino community, he has been particularly important to the early (and continuing) success of the Quintero Center. He served for many years as its director and helped with establishing its community garden and art mural programs. He has also been very active throughout Toledo’s Latino community, earning many professional awards and serving on the board of the Nueva Esperanza Community Credit Union.
While not selecting individuals for 2022, the Diamante Awards has also established awards for Latino Youth Leadership, Corporation / Community Agency, and Friend of the Latino Community.
The University of Toledo celebrates throughout the month.
In addition to celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month the University of Toledo’s Latinx student organization, the Global Latinx Student Union is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. The Union is a social multicultural group celebrating all campus groups with a focus on the Latino/Latinx/Hispanic culture.
The university hosts a variety of events throughout the month, as well as resources highlighting Hispanic history:
- Forgotten: Women of Juarez Podcast – a story of the disappearance of hundreds of women in the border city of Ciudad Juarez.
- National Museum of American History virtual tour of Hispanic artifacts
- Musica Del Pueblo: A Smithsonian virtual exhibition of Latino roots music and culture
- Our America: The Latino Presence in American Art virtual exhibition, showcasing Latino artists since the mid-twentieth century
The remaining events scheduled for this year’s Hispanic Heritage Month include:
- October 11, 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., Sofia Quintero Art and Cultural Center, 1222 Broadway St., Toledo. 7th annual Latino Leadership Initiative Forum – Recovering in the Messiness of Life in the Latino Community, and How to Navigate Mental Health. Featured speaker Louis Guardiola, MSW, LICDS-CS, LSW Diversity Trainer and Social Worker; Panel – Rosario Sanchez, Dr. Lucia Hinojosa, Elijah Jones, Arturo Ordonez and Guisselle Mendoza McDonald. Register here. Snack with coffee in the morning; lunch in the afternoon. For more info email Sonya Quinn, or at 419.243.1119, ext. 103.
- October 13, 11:30 a.m., Carlson Library Room 1005, University of Toledo. Artist Talk with Dan Hernandez, Associate Professor of Interdisciplinary Art / Foundations.
- October 13, 6:00 p.m., Bowen-Thompson Student Union Lenhart Grand Ballroom, Bowling Green State University. Diamante Awards – celebrating the profound and lasting influence that Latinos have on American history, values and culture. Tickets here
- October 13, 6:30 p.m., University of Toledo main campus, Centennial Mall. Hispanic Heritage Month Movie Night, featuring the movie Coco (popcorn and other snacks provided)
- October 15, University of Toledo Carlson Library, first floor. Celebrating Artists: Hispanic Heritage Month, a special book display featuring books about Latinx artists ends at 5:00 p.m.