Boston kicks off Latinx Heritage Month

By Holland Rutter, WEBN Correspondent

On Tuesday, September 19th, Michelle Wu and the Boston City Council all came together at City Hall Plaza to celebrate Latinx heritage month. 

Throughout the plaza, there were tons of festivities such as Latin American music, food, and organizations.

One organization, MassCosh, the Massachusetts Coalition for occupational safety and health, was there to uplift the working lives of people in the Latino community.

The Chief of Strategy at MassCosh, Al Vega said, “an event like this is an opportunity to showcase what we are doing to provide that kind of support to our community as well as be able to learn about other organizations.” 

El Planeta, a Boston-based newspaper written in Spanish that covers local Latino community, also attended the festival.  “Our stories always educate. We educate those people who don’t understand and need a little bit more [understanding] about what is happening in Boston,” Emerson alum and journalist Rosanna Marinelli said.

Once the music settled, members of the Boston City Council took turns giving celebratory speeches and “thank you’s” to everyone there. Some notable figures in attendance included Michelle Wu, Ruthzee Louijeune, and Julia Mejia.

Mejia, the first Afro-Latina to sit on the Boston City Council proclaimed, “There are over 130,000 thousand Latinos that live in the city of Boston. As Latinos, we don’t die, we multiply!” Her inspirational words and empowerment caused the crowd to erupt in excitement.

When speaking to Mejia, who is re-running for office this November, she provided insight on what it means to be an Afro-Latina on the Boston City Council.

She mentioned, at first, having a huge case of imposter syndrome. Now, she feels the power in representing her community as the first Latina ever elected to City Council.

“The biggest thing I have to work for is respect because people don’t see who I am; they see who they believe I am and because of that, I spend a lot of time educating people,” Julia Mejia said.

With her election right around the corner, Mejia perseveres through the stereotypes and boxes implemented around her by being Afro-Latina, an immigrant and a single-mom. Through her candidacy, she hopes to inspire youth all across Boston and bring more diversity into education one-step at a time.

To wrap up the 6th annual celebrations at City Hall Plaza for Latinx heritage month, there were many vendors from all different Latin American countries giving out a variety of foods such as arepas, tacos, tequeños and many more. For more Latinx heritage month events, Bostonians can visit boston.gov/events.