Union County Board of Chosen Freeholder Sergio Granados joined Union County College President Margaret M. McMenamin to celebrate “Soy Yo – Celebrating Culture and Diversity” for Hispanic Heritage Month on Sept. 15. Following the presentation of flags of Hispanic countries by Union’s students, Freeholder Granados gave the keynote address but first commended President McMenamin for the work being done at the College to help first-generation students receive their education. Today, the county’s population is 30% Hispanic and the College’s population is approximately the same. Freeholder Granados expressed in his address that it does not matter if a person is of Hispanic or Latino descent, everyone should help each other to succeed.
Following Freeholder Granados’ rousing speech, the audience was entertained by salsa and Bahasa dance performed by two dancers from “Cultural Explosion.” Following their performance, plena dance and drums were presented by “Los Pleneros de la 21.” Attendees were given the history on the plena dance and drums and lessons followed the lecture.
Today’s opening ceremony was also in celebration of Hispanic Serving Institutions Week. Union County College is one of five community colleges in New Jersey that has been identified as a Hispanic Serving Institution because more than 25% of its student population is Hispanic. For the next month, Union County College will be celebrating Hispanic culture.