During Hispanic Heritage Month, which ran from September 15 to October 15, some Baldwin residents discovered the monolith that is the Hispanic community at school and library events, while others didn’t were unaware of this ethnic celebration.
Residents took to social media to discuss the Hispanic heritage celebrations at Baldwin. David Feldman wrote: “When I was growing up in Baldwin there were hardly any Hispanics… I think it is only fitting that their heritage is recognized as the legacy of other ethnic groups living in Baldwin. .
In the school district, several schools have engaged students to learn about notable Hispanic figures. At Baldwin High School, Evaggelia Sakelos’ Spanish classes researched and produced mini-reports on Hispanic people of historical significance. Anne Grande’s classes connected their deceased Hispanic personalities to a Day of the Dead “Ofrenda” project.
Baldwin Middle School made daily announcements on announcements of historical and current Hispanic individuals, which were prepared by students who conducted research late last year. Additionally, Ingrid Bacca students entered the Optimum Hispanic Heritage Online Essay Contest to write about a Hispanic / Latino person who inspires them.
Sonia Lopez, an 11-year-old Baldwin resident of Puerto Rican descent, told the Herald that the Baldwin School District “goes to great lengths to ensure the inclusion of the many Hispanic and Latin American families residing in Baldwin. I have often been called upon to translate English PTA flyers into Spanish. I have also served as a translator for new parent teas, PTA meetings and school events.
The Baldwin Civic Association has not organized any events on Hispanic heritage; however, it seeks to reflect on events it may sponsor in the future as its membership diversifies.
The Friends of the Baldwin Public Library, “a newly formed organization that helps enrich library services by raising funds for special projects and activities,” sponsored a concert with guitarist Carlos Pavan, which will soon be available for projection.
While the library offers a host of anti-racist events, its Hispanic offerings were more limited. On September 24, he screened “In the Heights” in the community hall. At the library’s board meeting in August, however, the board noted that new census statistics had come out and trustees would discuss in November how the library could better reflect the community.
Baldwinite Betty Nicholson echoed the sentiment in the library, saying, “Personally, I don’t mind having a nice parade. Sure, the pandemic kind of screwed that up for us, but how about a parade for Latinos, especially if the population exists in the area?
According to the 2020 census, Baldwin has a total population of 33,919, of which 38% are black, 29% white, 22% Hispanic or Latino, and 5% Asian-American. Thirty-two percent of students in the school district are Hispanic, and according to the American Community Survey 2019, more than 16 percent of Baldwin households speak Spanish at home.
The population of Hispanic residents in Baldwin has doubled in the past 20 years; however, representation in leadership positions has not been. Neither the school nor library boards have Hispanic members, Sanitation District # 2 does not have Hispanic commissioners, and neither Nassau County nor the Town of Hempstead have Hispanic representatives for Baldwin.
The Chamber of Commerce, however, will make a dent in the representation of Hispanic leaders in Baldwin. In November, the chamber will install as president Franky Jorge, owner of Gala Fresh Farms in Baldwin.
Jorge told the Herald: “There is a huge presence at Baldwin of Hispanic business owners that is not being exploited … There is a huge benefit to that,” adding that he hopes “we can all come together and make Baldwin a better place together. “