PORTLAND, Ore. — Hispanic peoples all over the world, including right here in Portland, are celebrating Mexico's Independence Day this week. The big day is September 16 but many also celebrate the night before; like with El Grito PDX 2022 at the Moda Center.
This event also kicked off the start of Hispanic Heritage Month, lasting from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15. Mexico's Independence Day is not to be mistaken with El Cinco de Mayo. For many Latin American countries, Sept. 15 — El Dia de La Independencia — marks the anniversary of their independence from Spain.
"They're going to have the flavor of the Latino community," said Victoria Lara, CEO of El Grito PDX.
Lara said that this is her 15th year running El Grito. She adds this is something she only hoped of doing when she was a little girl, eager to share her culture with her communities.
“My favorite part about this event is to celebrate our identity and how (Hispanics) are so eager to share their culture,” said Lara. “Because our culture is of course full of colors and flavors, but it's also that — hope. That hope that things can be done. Like believing 'Si se puede.'"
The event welcomed dozens of Latino-owned businesses, ranging from taquerias to handmade clothes and crafts to bakers. La Casa De Mama, a vegan Mexican bakery, was invited to the event last year. Owner Miriam Carrera said that her business really took off after her exposure from this event.
"This is an amazing opportunity that they give us, it really is,” said Carrera in Spanish. “Nobody can imagine what the before and after looked like for us after attending this event."
Over 1,000 Portland Public School students will be attending the event between Thursday and Friday. It's something Victoria Lara and her brothers strive to do, helping to connect the younger generation to the Hispanic culture and resources here locally.
"The best thing out of this is just being with everybody,” said Victoria’s brother and business partner, Antonio Lara. “That we create community. That we have the opportunity to be with one another and to speak different languages, and experience culture."
Both Antonio and Victoria hope to keep this event growing in the years to come, to help bring more awareness to the Hispanic culture and the celebrations within it.