Belmont University, in partnership with the Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (NAHCC), hosted the Kickoff to Hispanic Heritage Month on September 15. Approximately 90 Hispanic business owners, elected officials and business leaders attended the event. Students in Dr. Mitch McCoy’s Spanish class and members of the Hispanic Student Association served as event greeters.
After Vice President and University Counsel Jason Rogers welcomed the group, Metro Vice Mayor David Briley presented a proclamation on behalf of Mayor Megan Barry acknowledging contributions and sacrifices made by Hispanics serving in the U.S. military since the Revolutionary War, the leadership Hispanics give to corporations, non-profits, government, education and the social movements and citing the first Latina serving on the Supreme Court, Justice Sonia Sotomayor.
“We are very proud to celebrate our 12th Hispanic heritage month official kick-off celebration at Belmont. Hispanic Heritage Month celebrates the contributions of those who trace their roots to Spanish speaking countries and fellow Hispanic-Americans who are also our neighbors here in Nashville. Belmont University’s partnership with us strengthens our embracing diversity and inclusion year after year with this important national observation,” said Yuri Cunza, Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce president & CEO. “This is our 6th year coming to Belmont for the Kickoff. We feel like we are a part of this university. The university is the place where people are educated, and we want to educate people about the Hispanic community.”
Joyce Searcy, Belmont’s director of Community Relations and member of the NAHCC board of directors said, “Belmont values its relationship with the NAHCC. One of Belmont’s goals is to be more reflective of the diversity in Nashville and in the world. The Kickoff is one way to celebrate a growing Hispanic community that, according to The Tennessean, has grown by almost 5,000% since 1980. Belmont is working very hard be a model for creating and sustaining a culture of inclusion. That also means intentionally engaging our students in activities to make them prepared for a more diverse society.”
Hispanic Heritage Month recognizes and celebrates the rich cultural, economic, artistic, scientific, educational and social influences and contributions of Hispanics throughout the United States.