Many Americans celebrate Cinco de Mayo (May 5th) and St. Patrick’s Day (March 17th) though they have no Mexican or Irish ancestry and little idea of what or why they are celebrating. In the US we kind of adopt and influence commemorative days that feed off of our collective desire for an all-day, outside party. Parade, yes! Public celebration, yes! Food and drink, count me in!
Historically speaking, May 5 marks the victory of the Mexican Army in 1862 over the French at the Battle of Puebla. As well known as the day is, it is NOT the Mexican Independence Day (September 16). Check out Raul A. Reyes' fun and easy to read article for 5 interesting facts you may not know about Cinco de Mayo.
Did you know Denton has its own Cinco de Mayo celebration next Saturday, May 14? Maybe you’ve been before or seen the parade. It’s actually the 29th year our city has celebrated the holiday.
According to the Denton Cinco de Mayo Committee, the celebration here “is about providing the spirit of celebration and friendship by sharing and showcasing rich cultural traditions, songs, dances, art exhibits and foods of the Hispanic Community.”
Through the eyes of a social services nonprofit in Denton County, those words—celebration, friendship, sharing—get us thinking. They're awesome objectives.
They are also why we do what we do. We celebrate our community by sharing with friends. We are sad to say we can’t financially help every neighbor who comes in our door. But we do exist to help a very specific set of residents who are at risk of falling off the financial edge because of an emergency or unexpected situation. Other amazing groups in Denton (see Giving Hope, Denton County Homeless Coalition) serve residents who are in a more fixed cycle of financial crisis or homelessness.
Cinco de Mayo also gets us thinking about our services in relation to the the needs of the Hispanic community. Denton residents who identify as Hispanic made up about 32% of our total clients served this year. Our client makeup is on pace with the City of Denton's estimate that 23% of our population is Hispanic and Denton ISD's estimate that 31% of its K-12 students are Hispanic.
We know not all of our Hispanic clients have Mexican heritage, but we wanted to take today to celebrate and raise awareness for this part of our community.
So come on out to Denton’s Cinco de Mayo Celebration next Saturday, May 14. The parade starts at 10 a.m. and the party continues on to 6 p.m. Whatever your motivation—celebrating personal cultural heritage, fellowship, supporting the cultural diversity of our city, or just a plain desire to party—being there is important. It’s a show of solidarity with our neighbors.