Instituto Cultural de México

Welcome to the Mexican Cultural Institute. It is indeed an honor for us to host this event, and especially to launch Hispanic Heritage Month from this Institute, which welcomes not only Mexicans but all Latin Americans, and of course all Latinos living in Washington, DC.

The Mexican Government has a strong relationship with the entire Latino community in the United States, as we share values and experiences, as well as an ancestral culture with them. But more than that, we understand their needs and aspirations as immigrants in this country.

In this regard, we must all work together to empower the Latino community; to make sure that their voice is heard and our culture celebrated; and to ensure that we prosper economically and socially as a people.

Today we celebrate the Hispanic heritage of the United States, and in doing so we also celebrate the entire history of the United States; a history of generations of immigrants from all corners of the globe who have enriched the culture and the society of this country.

Washington DC is a clear example of a city that lives by the best values that have shaped and strengthen the United States as a country: tolerance, plurality, and inclusiveness. And Mayor Fenty clearly believes in these values. His administration has the largest number of Latinos serving at the Cabinet level of any previous administration. He has barred the police force from inquiring into an individual’s migratory status in the course of an investigation. His administration has made it mandatory to provide all city services in Spanish and to offer interpreters whenever they are needed, be it in court, or for job interviews.

Major Fenty is without doubt a true friend of the Latino community. A community, however, that sadly some would like to make invisible today. As Ralph Ellison wrote “I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me.” This cannot and must not stand for, to quote Ellison again, “America is woven of many strands. I would recognize them and let it so remain. Our fate is to become one, and yet many. This is not prophecy, but description.” What prescient words, as we celebrate the Hispanic heritage of this great nation today.