FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Fort Myers City Council recognized Hispanic Heritage Month as September 15 through October 15, 2023, on Monday.
“We’re just very proud of this month,” said Blanca Contreras, Chairwoman of the Hispanic Vote of Southwest Florida.
The city council members put politics aside, amidst statewide immigration reform, to recognize the contributions the Southwest Florida Hispanic American community brings to the city.
“It makes me feel very happy and proud to be a member of Fort Myers," said Leonardo Garcia, President of the Hispanic American Business Alliance.
According to the United State Census Bureau (2022), people of Hispanic descent account for 24.3% of the Lee County population, but with the current political climate surrounding immigration reform, many feel the month-long recognition is needed.
Contreras notes that with an upcoming presidential election cycle, it's important to receive cultural recognition and public education.
“A lot of folks come sadly from countries where they think their vote does not count," said Contreras. "We want to show them not to be afraid, to register to vote, and go out because their vote does count in the United States."
Now, with Hispanic Heritage Month halfway over, these citizens of Fort Myers say they're excited to get recognized for their contributions to the local arts, education, and more.
“It’s a wonderful month to recognize the contributions and the achievements that the Spanish-American population does," said Garcia. "Not only in the City of Fort Myers but the State of Florida and the entire United States of America."
Hispanic Heritage Month celebrations in Fort Myers will continue until October 15, 2023.