Union County to have annual Hispanic-heritage flag raising on Sept. 15

UNION COUNTY, NJ — The Union County Board of County Commissioners invites residents to attend the free annual Union County Hispanic-heritage flag-raising ceremony on Thursday, Sept. 15, at 5 p.m., on the steps of the Union County Courthouse, 2 Broad St., Elizabeth.

“We are proud to once again raise the Hispanic-heritage flag at the county courthouse,” said County Commissioner Chairperson Rebecca L. Williams. “Union County is one of the most diverse in New Jersey, and this is our way of recognizing the Hispanic community living and working in Union County, and we are proud to be one of the most inclusive counties in New Jersey and we will continue to work to promote unity.”

“Approximately one-third of Union County residents are of Hispanic origin. Being of Salvadoran descent, I am proud to be one of the many constituents that make Union County a more diverse place to live,” said Commissioner Sergio Granados. “Since the Hispanic Heritage Month celebration’s inception in 2018, it has been a symbol that recognizes and celebrates the many contributions Latinos have made throughout history. Being under one flag unites all of the Hispanic cultures together and also gives residents of Union County of all races and ethnicities a chance to come together and learn about our rich heritages. I look forward to joining our neighbors in all of the county’s monthlong festivities.”

“As a Cuban American, I am proud to serve in a county with such a strong Hispanic presence,” said Commissioner Lourdes Leon. “There are over 20,000 Hispanic residents in Union County alone who contribute to our growth and development, and, for the next four weeks, we will showcase the diversity, talent and cultures that make up our neighborhoods. I am excited to celebrate with everyone and honor the Hispanic community.”

The program for the event will include remarks from guest speaker Diana Calle, director of the Union County Office for Persons With Disabilities and Special Needs. Calle also serves the Hispanic community as vice president of LUPE Fund Inc., a nonprofit organization with the mission to educate, empower and engage Latinas in the state of New Jersey. She has been an active member since she received the LUPE Young Latina Leadership Scholarship in 2011. LUPE stands for Latinas United for Political Empowerment.

“The most recent census confirmed that Hispanic Americans are making an impact in NJ,” said Calle. “I am proud to be a Hispanic member of the community, not only in holding a leadership role within the Union County administration, but as the guest speaker at the Hispanic-heritage flag raising. I would like to thank the county for honoring my heritage along with the heritage of hundreds of thousands of other residents like me … in a place I call home.”

The flag raising is the first in a series of scheduled events celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month. The remaining events are:

• Saturday, Sept. 17, 2 to 5 p.m. Cultural Day at Warinanco Park Sports Center, Roselle.

• Friday, Sept. 23, at 6:30 p.m. Movie night: “Encanto” at Warinanco Park. Residents are advised to bring their own blankets and chairs.

• Wednesday, Oct. 12, 6 to 9 p.m. Panel discussion on the history of Union County’s Hispanic media connection, at Kean University’s North Avenue Academic Building, at the corner of Morris and North avenues.

• Friday, Oct. 14, at 7 p.m. Drive-up movie: “Encanto,” with salsa lessons at 7 p.m. and movie at 8 p.m., at Plainfield High School, 950 Park Ave., Plainfield.

• Saturday, Oct. 15, 1 to 5 p.m. Family Fun Day at Rahway River Park, Parkway Drive, next to Ulrich Memorial Pool.

For more information, visit ucnj.org/hhm22/ or contact Judith Guest, community engagement and diversity coordinator, at [email protected] or 908-527-4388.