Angel Estrada sat down with his friends Thursday on the lawn at Texas College to enjoy an authentic Hispanic lunch. Latin music played over the speakers while the students, faculty and staff took part in Texas College's Hispanic Heritage Month Kick off celebration.

Estrada, a Texas College junior, is originally from  the Rio Grande Valley in the southernmost tip of South Texas.

"It's wonderful, and makes me feel like I'm at home," Estrada said. "It's nice hearing the music, eating the guacamole, the rice and beans and having lunch with my friends. I like the horchata - it's rice, cinnamon and milk."

The event was the first in a series hosted throughout the city and organized by the Hispanic Professionals Association of Tyler in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month. Local events are scheduled through Oct. 15.

"Twelve to 15 percent of our campus population is Hispanic," said Edward Sanders, Texas College professor of Spanish. "This is a time for us to create awareness for other cultures."

The lunch included tacos, beef and chicken fajitas and quesadillas, beans and Spanish rice, guacamole and salsa. Traditional Hispanic drinks of melon water, pineapple water and horchata were included.

"We just want to recognize Hispanic Heritage Month, because times are changing," said Marquet Norfleet, Texas College director of student activities. "We want to glorify every race and enjoy all cultures here on campus."

According to the Library of Congress, each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 by celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America. The observation started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period. Sept. 15 is significant because it is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on Sept. 16 and Sept. 18, respectively.

Columbus Day, or Día de la Raza, which is Oct.12, also falls within this 30-day period.


Hispanic Heritage Month activities in Tyler include:


Sept 15, El Grito de Dolores

5:30 to 8 p.m., UT Tyler Harvey Deck, 3900 University Ave.


Sept. 17, Leeme un Cuento, Read me a story

3-5 p.m., Tyler Public Library Auditorium, 201 S. College Ave.


Sept. 22-Oct. 5, Mexican Folk Art

9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Friday, Tyler Museum of Art, 100 E. Ferguson St.


Sept. 24, Catholic Charities Dia de Diversion Familiar

10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Tyler Indoor Sports, 12041 Spur 364


Sept. 25, La Invasora Conjunto Fest

4-9 p.m., East Texas State Fair, 2112 West Front St.


Sept. 28, Texas College Speaking Engagement

Nicanor Pesina, Attorney at Roberts and Roberts Law Firm

11 a.m. to 12 p.m., Texas College, 2404 N. Grand Ave.


Sept. 29, Zumba

6-7 p.m., Texas College, 404 N. Grand Ave.


Oct. 2, La Invasora Conjunto Fest

4-9 p.m., East Texas State Fair, 2112 West Front St.


Oct. 5, Zumba

6-7 p.m., Glass Recreation Center, 501 W. 32nd St.


Oct. 9, “Selena” Movie Night

6 p.m., Liberty Hall, 103 E. Erwin St.


Oct. 12, Texas College Mariachi Performance

Mariachi Espuelas de Plata, 11 a.m. to noon, Texas College,  2404 N. Grand Ave.







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I started working at the Tyler Morning Telegraph in June 2016. I am a retired U.S. Air Force Sr. Master Sergeant. After a 21-year military career, in Security Forces, the military police of the Air Force, I went back to college and studied journalism.