The Hispanic Heritage Month celebration has marked a new beginning for the city of Goshen. Through this day of celebration, the city of Goshen has opened its doors in ways most people would not even imagine. 

On Sept. 17, downtown Goshen became a new place. The area was dressed in all sorts of colors with different vendors on every corner. Everywhere you went there was something interesting to look at. And the food — there was food everywhere from a variety of places. 

What caught my attention the most was the music. People were dancing everywhere you went. From the little kids to the elders, people were opening their hearts up to the sound of music. 

Everything was incredible, but the highlight of my evening was realizing that the majority of the businesses and organizations present were Hispanic-owned and run. Some of the businesses present have been established for many years, but others are brand new and just starting. This is why I believe that events such as this one are integral. It gives people the opportunity to create connections, reach out, expand and grow. 

The Hispanic Heritage Month celebration is more than a celebration. It is a time of community and connection. The Hispanic community of Goshen, which is ever-growing, can take ownership of the one thing no one can take away from them no matter how far away they are from their home countries — their identity. To witness people take ownership of their cultures is truly a blessing, and there is nothing more wonderful than seeing people feel comfortable sharing their culture. 

I want to thank the Goshen community for opening their doors to us, for allowing us to take ownership of this celebration, and for joining us in celebrating who we are. 

Putting on such a celebration is no easy task. I want to thank all the people who made such an event possible. It is the effort behind the celebration that lets people know that the City of Goshen truly does care for its community. I speak for myself and countless others when I say that I, as a Hispanic person, finally feel like I belong in Goshen. I feel that I am part of the community. I feel acknowledged and heard. I feel supported and cared for. This celebration marks a new beginning for the people of Goshen. To me, it seems that the Hispanic community is no longer isolated from the rest of the Goshen community. A bridge has been built and given time it will only become stronger. 

The Hispanic Heritage Month celebration recognizes and honors the different cultures of Latin American countries but is by no means an exclusive celebration. I believe that the purpose of this celebration is to share our culture with the rest of the Goshen community, especially those who are not Hispanic. I want to encourage everyone to attend next year’s celebration. Come out and enjoy the food and the music. Get to know the Hispanic people in our community. Listen to our stories and share your own stories.