NAHCC, Belmont Kick Off Hispanic Heritage Month 2019

Joyce Searcy Speaks on Panel

Following the 15th annual kick off ceremony on September 15, the Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (NAHCC) marked the beginning of Hispanic Heritage Month at a leaders breakfast roundtable hosted by Belmont University on September 17.

Hispanic Heritage Month is a celebration lasting from September 15 – October 15, focused on recognizing the business, professional, civic, cultural and artistic contributions of more than 59.9 million Hispanics in the country and local Nashville community.

The “Líderes” Breakfast Roundtable gathered the NAHCC Board of Directors, chamber members, corporate sponsors and community partners to focus on “Speaking Freely about Changing Demographics Impact on Nashville.” The series aims to facilitate open dialogue on timely topics impacting Nashville and Middle Tennessee, from changing demographics to the growth and economic impact of Latinos.

“We at the NAHCC are very appreciative of the partnership we have with Belmont University,” said President and CEO Yuri Cunza. “Our relationship is strong, and through the years, it is always a great success teaming up to engage members of our Hispanic community through many events ranging from education, sports, music, arts and culture.”

Attendee Group Photo
The Kickoff to Hispanic Heritage Month breakfast at Belmont University

The guest moderator was Belmont Associate Professor of Spanish Dr. Natalia Pelaz. A native from Spain, Pelaz’s dissertation focuses on elucidating how the condition of exile affects the literary production, and how concepts such as Nation, personal and national identities, memory and language are continually revisited under the condition of exile. To date, Pelaz continues to be very interested in Exile and her attention is focused now in rescuing other Spanish exiled writers that remain in the oblivion. She holds a Master’s Degree in Spanish Literature and in 2005 earned her Doctoral Degree in Romance Languages and Literatures.

Attendees
NAHCC Chairman Mario Ramos; Register of Deeds, Karen Johnson, Mayor Elect John Cooper Transition Co-Chair Brenda Haywood; Terry Quillen; and El Crucero Spanish newspaper owner Eliud Trevino.

Panelists included Belmont Director of Community Relations Dr. Joyce Searcy, long time pastor and community activist Reverend Enoch Fuzz, Former Metro Council Member Walter Hunt and Executive Director at Nashville Minority Business Center Marilyn Robinson.

Pelaz presented various statistics on immigration to Nashville and public opinion. The panelists discussed the questions posed by Pelaz, such as “How can we protect residents and create a new vision of belonging in our communities?” and “How do we envision Nashville as a ‘welcoming city’?”

NAHCC’s month-long calendar includes events and programs covering the most recent numbers on Hispanic population growth, purchasing power and economic impact, networking and an intimate CEO Conversation on Diversity round-table session on Sept 25.

Dr. Pelaz moderate panel of "lideres."
Dr. Pelaz moderate panel of “lideres.”

To close the month-long festivities, on October 15, the NAHCC will host its 15th Excellence in Business and Community Awards, an annual recognition of the Hispanic entrepreneurship spirit and how it impacts the local and state economy. The ceremony also recognizes corporate and community partners who make the work of the chamber and it mission possible. The event featuring guest speakers, awards, live music and culinary samplings, will be hosted at the Nashville City Center.