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College plays host to independence celebration

Eastern New Mexico University kicked off the Mexican Independence Day with a celebration filled with singing, dancing and speeches about the upcoming month of Hispanic heritage.

Albuquerque’s Consul of Mexico, Benito Valdez Vega, spoke to the crowd of participants and commended them. Through an interpreter, Mary Ayala, Vega praised audience members for being people that have pride in their roots on this day of celebrating Independence.

This celebration marks a time in history when Mexico was freed from Spanish rule.

In 1810, on Sept. 16, a catholic priest named Hidalgo rang the bell atop his church signaling the time had come for Mexicans to unite and fight for liberty.

There were many lives lost in the 10-year battle for freedom.

“We’ve become a country because of those that fought for our independence,” said Nancy Varelas, a student advisor for student affairs. “Sometimes we forget about what freedom means. We have to keep celebrating so we won’t forget.”

She described the Mexican culture as being fascinating.

“Every culture has something beautiful about them, which is why we must continue to remember those that helped make us a country by celebrating their accomplishment,” said Varelas.

National Hispanic Heritage is celebrated on Sept. 15 thru Oct. 15.

Ruben Tellez (a.k.a. “Mr. T”), a bilingual teacher at Clovis High School, called Sept. 16 a “special day” for Hispanic people.

“It’s a day for us to celebrate our differences because each culture has something different,” Tellez said. “It’s important to share one another’s values, beliefs and ways. Without getting to know one another, we fall short of who we are and regress causing us to separate and discriminate which leads to labeling.

“We come together during Mexican Heritage month to celebrate because it opens our minds, our hearts and our views of other people in the world besides ourselves. We all have the same blood and can learn a lot from one another.”