BakerRipley event

As East Aldine celebrates National Hispanic Heritage Month through Oct. 15, residents are showing how the month’s events connect the past to the future.

Two young people have already demonstrated how the festivities can be grounded in modern techniques.

At the BakerRipley East Aldine Culture Fest, Avalos P-Tech School ninth graders Priscila Fraga and Jonah Maldonado, who are running for president and vice president of a school club, used a BakerRipley fabrication lab’s 3D printer to make signs for their campaigns.

Yet the signs they made with new technology are in the style of papel picado, the thin, decorative, brightly colored paper thought to have originated in long-ago Aztec culture to commemorate the dead and acknowledge special occasions.

Priscilla Fraga

Events in East Aldine have already included a free, huge musical Tejano Fest presented by the East Aldine Management District, a panel discussion at Lone Star College’s East Aldine Center, and the Culture Fest/party at BakerRipley.

For Dulce Coronado, a 17-year-old Avalos senior, the programs have been an opportunity to earn service hours while teaching kids to craft tissue paper flowers while learning more about her own heritage.

“I think it is very Important, because so many teens spend all our time on social media. And we need to learn more about our culture and our heritage,” Coronado said.

The Culture Fest included a taco stand, birthday presents for long-time BakerRipley members and the occasional pick-up soccer game for restless boys.

Monica Cortez, who served coffee from her business, Café Guadalupe, said the celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month “is very important.”

“If you don’t know where you’re from, who can you know where you are going,” Cortez said. “How are you going to pass on to future generations why we do what we do, why we work so hard. There are a lot of people coming from so many different countries now, and they come here with a purpose, to work, to make a living, or even because their parents sent them here because they were facing death.”

Rosie Casanova

“It’s important for people to know that Hispanics come to America with the strong belief system that there are so many opportunities here, and you’re going to be happy. You’re going to be free,” Cortez continued.

Rosie Casanova of BakerRipley said the United States now includes Americans from 21 Hispanic countries, and many of them live in the East Aldine area.

“We want to celebrate that,” Casanova said. “It’s so important that we have the young people here. When we talk about Hispanic culture, we’re not only talking about language, but about art, music, food, dance, and even sports.”

Hispanic Heritage Month began as a week-long celebration under President Lyndon B. Johnson and was extended into a month-long celebration by President Ronald Reagan.

Celebrations continue in East Aldine with events such as a High Meadows Branch Library (4500 Aldine Mail Route) heritage-themed craft events Oct. 9. (Click here for details).

Also, the end of Hispanic Heritage Month comes less than two weeks before the East Aldine Management District’s Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) free Fall Festival. It’s Oct. 28 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Town Center.

— By Anne Marie Kilday