At their Wednesday night meeting, the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners passed a pair of historic resolutions recognizing Hispanic Heritage Month and honoring Hispanic and Latinx organizers.
The first resolution formally recognizes Hispanic Heritage Month and encourages residents to support Hispanic-owned businesses and learn more about the culture. Passed unanimously, it is the first time in county history that the Board of Commissioners has recognized Hispanic Heritage Month, celebrated from September 15th to October 15th each year. September 15th was selected as the start of Hispanic Heritage Month as it acknowledges the independence of several Latin American countries, including Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. This year marks 200 years since these countries declared their independence from Spain in 1821.
“We are honored to recognize Hispanic Heritage Month.”, said Caroline Sanders, County Commissioner for District 4. “This may have been the first time we’ve passed a resolution, but it cannot be the last, or our only effort to create a more inclusive culture here. Our Hispanic and Latinx neighbors are our classmates, our co-workers, and our friends. Hispanic Heritage month is a wonderful opportunity to support businesses and learn more about a rich, proud and beautiful culture.”
The second resolution honors Hispanic and Latinx organizers who have worked, since the onset of the pandemic, to coordinate Covid-19 vaccine and flu clinics for Spanish-speaking residents in Washtenaw County. While many volunteers coordinated language and transportation access at county vaccine clinics, Spring Quinones, Maria Militzer, and Mexiquenses en Michigan were named specifically for their outstanding efforts to increase vaccine equity. Both resolutions were read at the Board meeting Wednesday night, first in English and then in Spanish.
“Our Covid-19 Vaccine Equity Strategy would not have been successful without the help of these very important organizers.”, said Justin Hodge, County Commissioner for District 5 who also serves as chair of the Board of Health. “They worked tirelessly to make sure that Spanish-speaking residents in our county had access. Our work isn’t done. The Board of Commissioners and the Board of Health will continue to advocate for vaccine access. Mexiquenses in Michigan, Maria Militzer, Spring Quinones, and a host of other volunteers are a prime example of how powerful it is when local government works in partnership with community.”