ADVERTISEMENT

Vianca Ayala led the Pledge of Allegiance in Spanish and English.
Fifth-grader Cecilia Oquendo gave her rendition of the song "I Believe," and fellow classmate Nayely Ramos recited the poem "La Libertad."
The girls, all students at D'Youville Porter Campus School 3, participated in the third annual kickoff of Hispanic Heritage Month in Buffalo on Friday.
About 25 people attended the ceremony on the main floor of the Central Library on Lafayette Square.
The national observance, which begins today and ends on Oct. 15, recognizes the contributions of Hispanic Americans to the United States and celebrates heritage and culture.
During Friday's local kickoff, Buffalo School Superintendent Pamela Brown recited in Spanish a poem by Jose Marti called "Cultivo Una Rosa Blanca" - "I Cultivate a White Rose."
The poem is about having values and reaping what you sow, Hispanic leaders present explained.
"It has a great deal of meaning for me," said Brown, who majored in Spanish at Stanford University.
Other speakers included Mayor Byron W. Brown; Mary Jean Jakubowski, director of the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library system; Niagara District Council Member David Rivera; Leonard Williams, representing Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz; and Sam Hoyt, vice president for regional economic development for Empire State Development, on behalf of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.
In addition, more than 20 service organizations offered information about programs for the Hispanic community.
Over the next month, local events will recognize the culture and traditions of Americans who trace their roots to Spain, Mexico, Central and South America and the Caribbean.
Some of the events and dates include:
. Hispanic Veterans Memorial 5K Run & Family Walk at Erie Canal Harbor beginning at 10 a.m. today
. Hispanic Heritage Family Day at the Buffalo Zoo beginning at 11 a.m. today
. Hispanic Heritage Film Festival at Market Arcade Film and Arts Centre, 639 Main St. at 6 p.m. Friday
. Hispanic Heritage in Science and Technology at Buffalo Museum of Science at 11 a.m. Sept. 22.
. Hispanic Identity in Arts & Culture at the Buffalo & Erie County Historical Society on Nottingham Terrace at 6 p.m. Sept. 28
. Hispanic Heritage Council community reception at Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site, 641 Delaware Ave. at 6 p.m. Oct. 5
. Reception honoring steel and rail retirees at Heritage Discovery Center, 100 Lee St. at 11 a.m. Oct. 6
.Hispanic Women's League Scholarship Luncheon at Statler City, 107 Delaware Ave. at 11 a.m. Oct. 13
. For a complete list of activities visit www.hispanicheritagewny.org.

email: dswilliams@buffnews.com