HARTFORD — “¡Viva Mexico!” the consul general of Mexico in Boston shouted. “¡Que Viva!” answered the crowd that gathered outside of the state Capitol to celebrate the 213th anniversary of Mexican independence through song, dance and raising the Mexican flag.
Mexico declared its independence from Spain on Sept. 16, 1810, when founding father Miguel Hidalgo rang the bells of his small church in Dolores, Mexico. Every year, Mexicans around the world gather for a “Grito de Dolores” that mimics the independence cry made by Hidalgo over 200 years ago.
The consul general of Mexico in Boston, Alberto Fierro Garza, read Hidalgo’s historic cry and shared the importance of commemorating Mexican independence during his speech.
“This is a time to remember our history with pride and a time to feel proud about what we have accomplished as a nation with the values our forefathers fought for two centuries ago,” he said.
Event coordinator Carlos Hernández Chávez started the flag raising tradition eight years ago so that local Mexicans can celebrate their country while being away from home.
“The history of Mexico started 30 centuries ago, well before anyone outside this continent knew it existed,” he said in Spanish. “Like everyone in the world, our ancestors migrated, searching for a place to live and through the migration, they were brought here.”
The celebration opened with a performance by Mariachi Laureles del Monte, the Mariachi band from the Spanish Community of Wallingford. SCOW has been participating in the ceremony since the beginning. Each year, the mariachi band and traditional dance group, Ballet Folklórico Alma de México, pay homage to their culture through music.
“I have been performing here with the mariachi group for seven years,” Cassandra Ruiz, 13, said. “Being part of the celebration and singing makes me very proud of my culture and it’s exciting.”
Vivian Rodríguez, 18, has been performing at the Capitol with the folkloric group for five years and enjoys the preparation before the ceremony.
“We’ve been practicing a lot, but it’s fun,” she said.
During the celebration, state Rep. Hilda Santiago, D-Meriden, presented an official citation on behalf of the General Assembly to Wendy García Campos, the first Mexican American woman to become a state trooper in Connecticut. Campos was recognized for her continuous devotion to the community and for being a role model for many Latinos, especially women.
“It’s an honor for me to be here and do this presentation,” Santiago said. “It shows that women can do anything when they put their minds to it and that we have Latina women representing us at all levels of government and security. It makes me so proud.”
After receiving her official citation, Campos thanked everyone for recognizing her achievements.
“It’s an honor to get this recognition,” Campos said. “It’s an honor to be able to demonstrate that being a female and being a Mexican female, you’re able to do this.”