BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Among the latest events to feel the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic is National Hispanic Heritage Month.
In Buffalo, just about all the events are going virtual- but community leaders aren’t letting it get them down.
Just last week, West Side community leaders held a food drive to benefit Feedmore WNY.
They’re keeping busy during the month, which runs from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15.
This time of year, Niagara Street- the Hispanic Heritage Corridor- would be adorned with banners and other decorations for National Hispanic Heritage Month- but the landmarks, the murals, the signs, and the welcome arches are still there.
“Our friends are out there to support us,” said Manny Lezama, a member of the committee that promotes Buffalo’s Hispanic culture.
Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, good things are happening.
A vacant lot at the corner of Niagara and Hudson Street is the future site of the Hispanic Heritage Cultural Institute. The $10 million project is the first of its kind in Western New York, sure to become the jewel of Buffalo’s West Side.
Lezama is also chairman of the cultural institute’s organizing committee, and sees it as a great opportunity for all Western New Yorkers.
“It has a learning center, a museum, a media center, cultural activities that are going to be taking place,” Lezama said. “This is a great project.”
Casimiro Rodriguez is the founder and immediate past president of the Hispanic Heritage Council.
He showed News 4 a timeline of Western New York’s Hispanic community, including Jaime Nuno, who composed Mexico’s national anthem.
“He lived here in Western New York, he died here, he was buried in Forest Lawn Cemetery, he was exhumed here,” Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez added that Hispanic people have been settling in Western New York from all over the world for more than 150 years.
“The murals, they tell a story- they tell the journey of Hispanics here in Western New York,” Rodriguez said. “It is very important that we capture this, not only for our own community, but for the community at large.”