Culture is a way to bring families, communities and future generations together. In our
society today, we are so pre-occupied with school, work and family that we tend to stray from
our cultural customs. The Thornton Township Hispanic Heritage Celebration reminded the
community about the importance of culture. The event, which took place in late September as
part of Hispanic Heritage Month at the Thornton Township Senior Center in Calumet City, was
filled with cultural food, history, music and dance.
“Events like these provides different perspectives of cultures and educates the community
on the importance of it in our everyday lives,” said Bert Rivera of Lansing, co-chair of the event
and member of the township Human Relations Commission. He also mentions the importance of
understanding the history of the Hispanic culture and how it originated.
“The more we know about each other, the more we learn to love each other and that’s
what’s most important,” said Rivera. “Learning to respect and accept others for their religious
and cultural backgrounds is an important factor.
The event was a wonderful way to bring families and friends together.
“When I first heard about this event, I thought it was a great opportunity because I’m
Hispanic and it is important that my daughter understands her cultural background,” said Yahira
Isidoro from Griffin, Indiana. “There are always new ways to learn about different cultures and
even cultures that we originate from, and this event shared the true meaning of culture.”
Others mark their calendars every September for the celebration.
“I attend this event every year and similar events because it gives me the opportunity to
explore different cultures and their meaning,” said Wyonnie Woffre from South Holland, IL.
The keynote speaker was Marilu Gonzalez. She has been a District #205 teacher for more
than 11 years and received bachelor’s in education in Physical Education at Chicago State
University and masters in Educational Leadership at Concordia University. She was the head
women’s coach at South Suburban College for eight years and is an alumnus of Thornridge High
School and Coolidge Middle School.
She spoke out about her life growing up as a Hispanic in Harvey IL, and the challenges
she faced throughout her life. She mainly spoke of how important culture is and how it was an
influential factor in her life and the life of others. “Culture is viewing the way other people live,
and through sharing these stories, you wouldn’t believe how strong the impact of sharing culture
is,” she added.
The Thornton Township Hispanic Heritage Celebration was a momentous event that
taught the true meaning of culture and brought together a diverse community.
“It is important to celebrate other peoples’ cultures and history, and to understand how it
all originated gives me a different perspective on the Hispanic culture” said Patricia Patterson
from Calumet City.