In celebration of Latino Heritage Month 2022
This year’s theme for Latino Heritage Month, also known as Hispanic Heritage Month, is Unidos: Inclusivity for a Stronger Nation. Diversity is our nation’s strength, and the Latino community’s contributions to our nation’s culture, economy, and future are significant. People of Hispanic heritage represent a vast array of communities and climates. Many spoken dialects within the Spanish language, and many celebrated Latino Heritage traditions contribute to our nation’s rich culture.
Individuals of Latino backgrounds represent one of the fastest-growing populations in America. Per the Pew Research Center:
The U.S. Hispanic population reached 62.5 million in 2021, up from 50.5 million in 2010. The 19% increase in the Hispanic population was faster than the nation’s 7% growth rate. In 2021, Hispanics made up nearly one in five in the U.S. (19%) — the 50 states and the District of Columbia. This is up from 16% in 2010 and just 5% in 1970.
Unidos (Unity) for a Stronger Nation is a fitting theme for this year’s Hispanic Heritage celebration as it reflects the diverse origins of Latino people – including the Caribbean, Mexico, Central America, South America, Europe, and North America. WestMass ElderCare has forged a strong connection to the local Latino community through our services.
WMEC employs over 150 full-time staff, 23% of whom are bilingual in the languages of English and Spanish and provides support to the numerous native Spanish-speaking consumers we serve across programs. Our bilingual team and office location in the “Flats” area of Holyoke strengthen our capacity to serve the Puerto Rican and other minority communities who make their home here.
We value our relationship and collaboration with other community partners serving the Latino community, including Enlace de Familias, Nueva Esperanza, and Alianza. For many years, we enjoyed a close partnership with Fernandez Family Restaurant, who, before closing, this summer, offered a congregate meal service allowing older adults to enjoy a delicious authentic Latino meal and the company of friends and neighbors at lunchtime for lunch over 15 years. We extend our thanks to the Fernandez Family and wish them all the best in their future endeavors. Be sure to catch this month’s feature article about our Latino Community Table program and stay tuned as we will be announcing a new partner restaurant soon!