By Mario McKellop
In 1968, President Lyndon Johnson established National Hispanic Heritage Week to honor the contributions Hispanic and Latino Americans have made to the United States. Twenty years later, President Ronald Regan turned National Hispanic Heritage Week into National Hispanic Heritage Month so that it now runs from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15. It’s placement on the calendar is due to the fact that Belize, Chile, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico and Nicaragua all declared their national independence within that period. Today, Clevelanders wishing to celebrate this important cultural observance can do so in a number of fun ways.
Take in the Jackie Warren and Sammy DeLeon Concert
325 Superior Ave.
Cleveland, OH 44114
One of the best ways to enjoy the richness of another culture is to take a dive into its art. The Clevelanders can appreciate Hispanic and Latino culture by taking in this special performance by Latin jazz musicians Jackie Warren and Sammy DeLeon. Warren is an accomplish pianist who has been part of the Cleveland music scene for decades. DeLeon is a percussionist and orchestra leader whose fantastic jazz, merengue and salsa music stylings have made him a central figure in Ohio’s Latin jazz scene.
Sample Some Latin Cuisine at Mallorca
1390 W. 9th St.
Cleveland, OH 44113
Another great way to get to know a different culture is to sample its cuisine. Luckily, Cleveland some severasl excellent restaurants that serve phenomenal Latin and Hispanic dishes. Mallorca, which specializes in Spanish and Portuguese food, is one such eatery. Among its Iberian delights are a shellfish casserole made with saffron rice, chicken and sausage. It’s Pollo Mallorca, which includes a chicken breast dust with spinach, pasta, sweet with peppers and mozzarella cheese, is also incredibly tasty.
6601 Lexington Ave.
Cleveland, OH 44103
Co-created by the Baseball Heritage Museumand Julia De Burgos Cultural Arts Center, Pleilbol is an ideal event for those looking to celebrate Hispanic American culture. It aims to educate the public about the contributions of African-American and Latino athletes to the sport of baseball. Staged at historic League Park from Sept. 22-24, Pleilbol will feature several guest speakers, youth clinics and two days of fun filled softball games. The event is open to the public and those wishing to volunteer can call the number listed above.
Visit Galeria Quetzal
12400 Mayfield Road
Cleveland, OH 44106
As opposed to other art galleries that serve to introduce serious arts thousand artists to the public, the Galeria Quetzal’s mission is also to provide a cultural education. It stocks pieces created by artists for more than 17 different from across the Iberian Peninsula and Latin America. Through the exhibition of Latin paintings, jewelry, textiles, ceramics and woodcarvings, the Galeria also gives visitors a greater understanding of the history and culture that inspired those works. As such, it’s an ideal place to patronize if you’re interested in broadening your cultural horizons.
6504 Detroit Ave.
Cleveland, OH 44102
Rincon Ciollo is another Northeast Ohio that offers visitors a chance to consume some extraordinary Latin American food. Its focus is on crafting Puerto Rican cuisine so patrons can start their culinary cultural exploration with a sopa de salchichón or banana and ground beef alcapurria. Then, they can enjoy arroz amarillo con habichuelas and chicharrones, a scrumptious entree made with yellow rice, beans and fried pork. Finally, you can enjoy some delicious caramel custard flan to finish off your sublime Hispanic dining experience.