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Hispanic/Latino Affairs Initiative

Arch of Cabo San Lucas

Arch of Cabo San Lucas

An arch carved out by time and the elements. Please click here for more information on this beautiful Baja California, Mexico landmark

Hispanic/Latino Affairs History

During the summer of 2000, Ms. Sandra Vergara-Duarte, Community Liaison with the City of West Columbia, met with Governor Jim Hodges to discuss the needs of the growing Hispanic/Latino population.  As a result of that meeting, the South Carolina Commission for Minority Affairs was contacted by Ms. Leah Moody, Deputy Legal Counsel for the Governor’s Office, and asked to facilitate discussions with the Hispanic/Latino community to identify ways to better meet the needs of this growing population.

To fulfill the Commission’s role, the staff identified persons from throughout the State from various backgrounds, who interacted daily or were knowledgeable about the culture, language, and needs of the Hispanic/Latino population.  It would be their responsibility to identify barriers to the delivery of services to this primarily non-English speaking population and to advise Governor Jim Hodges of their needs.

The first meeting of what became known as the Hispanic/Latino Ad Hoc Committee was held on Monday, July 24, 2000.  Thereafter, the Ad Hoc Committee agreed to meet monthly.  After a year-long process of meeting and gathering information, a report was completed by the Ad Hoc Committee, which reflected the findings and recommendations that would help to address the many challenges faced by the Latino population in our State.

The findings were then presented to Governor Hodges for consideration. Upon the recommendation of Governor Hodges, Ms. Janie A. Davis, Executive Director of the SC Commission for Minority Affairs, began working with members of the General Assembly to amend the statute to include the Hispanic /Latino population so that the commission could continue doing research on this population to help improve the social and economic life for this population.

During the 115th SC Legislative Session Bill H 3426 was introduced and read for the first time on January 28, 2003.  On July 2, 2003, Governor Mark Sanford signed the bill and the statute was amended to now include Hispanic/ Latinos, Native Americans, Asians and other ethnic minority groups   Then in May 2004, regulations for the formation of Advisory Committees for each one of the minority groups (African American, Native American, Hispanic /Latino) were approved by members of the General Assembly and funds were allocated for program coordinators for each program.   In the year 2004, the first Hispanic/Latino Program Coordinator was hired and the position was filled by Lee Serralta McElveen, a native of Puerto Rico.

Hispanic/Latino Culture in Mexico

Mexican Culture Facts

Mexican culture varies depending on the region, and it has been developing since pre-Colombian Mexico when the Mesoamerican civilizations such as the Aztec, Maya, Zapotec, Teotihuacan, Toltec, and Olmec people populated its region. Further influences came with the Spanish in the 1500s and over the next several centuries until the Mexican people gained their independence. Despite the varying aspects of the diverse cultural differences from region to region, Mexicans maintain a strong national identity. Even pre-Columbian beliefs have mixed with Catholic and Christian beliefs that have led to holidays that are unique to Mexico, such as the Day of the Dead.

Interesting Mexican Culture Facts:

The name 'Mexico' is derived from the Aztec word 'Mexica'.
The culture in Mexico is generally divided by geographical region, which identifies northern, southern, and central Mexico.
The northern areas of Mexico were populated by small groups of indigenous tribes until the mid-1900s. It is considered the frontier culture.
Central Mexico has always been the heart of the country, even in pre-Columbian times.
Southern Mexico is the poorest region of the country. It also has a very strong indigenous culture and enjoys a tropical climate.
Despite being a part of North America, Mexico is more culturally similar to South and Central America.
Spanish is the main language in Mexico, but its pronunciation and sound is different than the Spanish language of Spain from where the Mexican language is rooted.
Mexican food varies from region to region in some regards, but there are staples in Mexican cuisine such as corn, tomatoes, seafood, red and white meats, chiles, beans, avocadoes, tortillas, and coffee. The cuisine is a blend of indigenous food and European influences.
The indigenous and Spanish traditions of Mexico led to a strong folk art culture.
National holidays in Mexico include Independence Day (September 16), Día de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, Las Posadas (December 16 to December 24), Noche Buena (December 24), Navidad (December 25), Año Nuevo (December 31 to January 1), Twelfth Night of Christmas (January 5), and the Day of the Dead (November 2).
Mexican literature dates back to Mesoamerica. A well-known poet from pre-Spanish influence was Netzahualcoyotl. After the Spanish arrived the literature was influenced by the new concepts. Juan Ruiz de Alarcón and Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz were two well-known writers from the colonial time in Mexico.
In the Americas, Mexico is home to more UNESCO World Heritage Sites than any other country.
Mexican architecture was dominated by New Spanish Baroque in the colonial period. It has varied in influence since then from Moorish and Amerindian, to Neoclassicism, to French, and modern contemporary styles.
Mexican music is rooted in indigenous influences. Instruments commonly used in traditional music include flutes, rattles, conches, trumpets, drums, and voice. Mariachi music is very popular with its instrument the Mexican vihuela - a five-stringed instrument similar to a guitar.
Mexican music includes traditional music such as Corridos, Mariachi, Banda, Norteno, and Ranchera.
Mexico sports culture includes bullfighting, Charreria (equestrian events), and soccer (called football in some parts of the world).

Source: Softschools