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Council Issues Proclamation For Hispanic Heritage Month
There was a moment of celebration at the Riverbank City Council meeting recently when Norma Torres-Manriquez was presented with a proclamation for Hispanic Heritage Month. Members of the Folklorico group were also on hand for the presentation. Photo Contributed

National Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 and the Riverbank City Council recently presented Norma Torres-Manriquez, Director of Viva Mexico Ballet Folklorico, a proclamation for Hispanic Heritage Month. The presentation came at the regular city council meeting; Mayor Richard O’Brien presented the proclamation to Manriquez and the Folklorico group on Sept. 20.

“I was very honored to have been selected to receive it this year,” said Manriquez. “All of our Folklorico family was very excited to be recognized for our work in the community.”

With over 60 million people of Hispanic or Latino origin in the United States, they are the largest minority group in the country. They make up 57 percent of the city of Riverbank’s population.

The Hispanic Heritage observation began in 1968 as a weeklong celebration declared by President Lyndon B. Johnson in a proclamation to celebrate the culture, achievements, and contributions. President Ronald Reagan signed into law a bill expanding the observance from a week to a 31-day period. The timing of the month is specific as it coincides with several Independence Day celebrations for several Latin American nations.

Manriquez has been teaching and performing Folklorico for over 40 years and 22 of them have been in Riverbank. Her daughter Daisy Torres-Perez is currently the chorographer for the group and former student Cristina Perez is an assistant instructor.

“I am honored to be able to share some of our Mexican heritage through dance and art, I have always shared with our Folklorico students/families that we are very blessed to be able to share our culture with our community,” stated Manriquez. “I am very grateful for the partnership we have with the city and am so incredibly grateful and proud to be Mexican-American.”

The proclamation was read by O’Brien and stated, “Whereas, the City of Riverbank is committed to continuing to build a welcoming and neighborly community, embracing diversity, and fostering equity for every resident; and Whereas, Latinos and Hispanics have enriched the Riverbank Community and play a vital role in Riverbank’s economy and workforce with cultural, educational, and political influences, and Whereas, residents of Latino and Hispanic origin make up fifty-seven (57%) percent of the city’s population, making it the largest race or ethnic minoritized group in the City, and Whereas, Latino and Hispanic Heritage Month is an opportunity to celebrate the vibrant traditions of people whose ancestry can be traced to Mexico, Central America, Caribbean Islands, South America, and Spain; and Whereas, the Hispanic community has had a profound influence on our City through their strong commitment to family, faith, hard work, and service; and Now, therefore, let it be resolved that the City Council of the City of Riverbank hereby proclaims September 15th to October 15th as Hispanic Heritage Month and invite all to celebrate the contributions that have been made to our City and our community by Hispanic Americans.”

The proclamation was not something Manriquez took lightly.

“I guess as I reflect on the many years of service to this community it absolutely fills my heart to have been granted this mission from God to share and celebrate our Mexican-American roots,” said Manriquez with a heartfelt expression. “All the challenges have definitely been worth it.”

These lovely ladies were displaying their Hispanic culture in these beautiful dresses at the city council meeting last month. Photo Contributed