The celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month normally begins in mid-September, but began earlier this year at the Gail Borden Public Library with a colorful, bilingual contactless exhibit.
Beautiful outfits from Ballet Folklorico Huehuecoyotl sway in the main rotunda, reminding viewers of the many times the talented dance group has performed in the library and in the community. The group is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.
“We are proud to lend our outfits to the library,” said Cynthia Hernandez, Executive Director of Ballet Folklorico Huehuecoyotl. “Our mission is:” To engage and inspire future leaders to realize their potential through artistic expression and community engagement. Displaying our cultural outfits in the library helps us let people in the community know that we have been using dance to engage others for 25 years. “
In addition to showcasing Folklorico outfits, the exhibit traces the history of Hispanics in this region, noting that the census indicated that “19 natives of Mexico lived in Elgin Township” in 1930, to 14,576 people “from” Hispanic origin ”in 1990, to the 2020 census estimate of about 52,000 (45.7% of 114,797).
A sign explains that workers were recruited in Mexico to become section railroad workers who dug land and installed rail lines, including those for the Elgin, Joliet and Eastern Railway. He also adds that many Hispanics worked for the Woodruff & Edwards Foundry in the 1920s.
The exhibit also includes information about Hispanic churches, organizations, and U-46’s bilingual program.
The library’s other Hispanic Heritage Month celebration programs include:
• Celebration of Mexican Independence Day on Facebook Live: gbpl.info/FBLV. On Saturday September 11, from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., celebrate the anniversary of Mexico’s independence! In association with the Mexican Elgin Organization.
• José-Luis Orozco celebrates Hispanic heritage !, via Zoom. On Saturday, September 25 at 2 p.m., children and families are invited to join José-Luis Orozco on an energetic and interactive journey through Latin American culture with song, dance and more! Please register at gailborden.info/register.
• Latin voice on Facebook Live: gbpl.info/FBLV. On Saturday, October 2, from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., celebrate the history, traditions, culture and contributions of our Hispanic communities. They will have special guests, music and lots of fun. For other Hispanic Heritage Month activities, visit gailborden.info/hhm. In English and Spanish.
The library thanks the Elgin Area History Museum, EC Alft, author of “Hispanics in Elgin”, and Mary Camacho for their valuable source of information. For more information on the exhibition and the month, visit gailborden.info/hhmexhibit.