Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month: How one hispanic-led non-profit helped during the pandemic

Published: Sep. 16, 2020 at 10:07 PM CDT
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - September 15 through October 15 marks Hispanic Heritage Month. According to the U.S. Census, Bowling Green’s population is made up of 7.5 percent of people with Hispanic or Latino heritage.

“We’re trying to become more a part of the community,” Anita Parra, one of the leaders of BG RASP, said. “We want to hold events and activities not only to encourage our community to see us but to also give back.”

The Bowling Green Regional Alliance of Students and Professionals was founded several years ago. Parra has been a member for 10 years now. Their original focus was to encourage young students to pursue higher education.

“We’re from a community where sadly it’s discouraged to go to college because there are no funds, there are no scholarships for Hispanics sometimes,” Parra explained.

Once they reached certain benchmarks, the non-profit decided to expand its mission even further.

“We don’t want to be seen as a group of people who only take, we want to be seen as a part of the community that likes to give,” Parra said.

For example, during the pandemic, they helped to head up easy and accessible COVID-19 testing for minority communities. The drive-thru testing was held at The Light of the World Church, and members of BG RASP were there to translate and provide information for those being tested.

“People were asking questions. They didn’t know what was going to happen. We had people that didn’t know how the test was going to be done. The fact that we were there and gave them that sense of security, which was beautiful to see,” Parra explained.

This year, the non-profit also held an event to get people in their community to fill out the United States Census.

“We had people from the census there and also translators from BG RASP there offering their services to help people translate and get everything done. I think we had a total of 53 people show up and sign up for the event,” Parra said.

Usually this time of year during Hispanic Heritage Month, they would host a festival to celebrate and teach others about Hispanic culture. Unfortunately, that had to be canceled this year because of COVID-19. The event is something they look forward to because it brings people of all cultures together in the Bowling Green community.

“We’ve seen people sit down and be there at the festival from the beginning to the end, just eating and talking and meeting with people and that is what we love,” Parra said.

This is just one example of how Bowling Green’s Hispanic and Latino community makes a positive difference in our society. There are several other Latino owned businesses, educators, and other leaders that give back every day. Though some celebrations are canceled this year because of the pandemic, we can still reflect on how important members of the Hispanic and Latin community are to Bowling Green.

Copyright 2020 WBKO. All rights reserved.

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