City officials to Mexican community: 'We stand with you'
The Consul of Mexico in Philadelphia, Carlos Giralt-Cabrales, once again took center stage with the Mexican flag to fiercely cry ¡Viva Mexico! (check out the Instagram video) at the commemoration of the 205th anniversary of Mexico’s Independence.
The festival held at Penn's Landing celebrated the traditional “El Grito” ceremony in front of more than 15,000 people, the biggest crowd ever gathered for the event.
Jennifer Rodriguez, executive director at the Office of Immigrant and Multicultural Affairs (MOIMA), and Fernando Treviño, deputy executive director at MOIMA, joined the ceremony as well as Councilman Mark Squilla and Councilman at-large David Oh.
Among the city and state officials who attended the ceremony were the Secretary of the State of Pennsylvania, Pedro Cortes; the Secretary of Education in Pennsylvania, Pedro Rivera; the Mayor of Philadelphia, Michael Nutter, and Richard Negrin, managing director of the City of Philadelphia.
“We are celebrating ‘El Grito de Dolores’ with pride and passion. Governor Tom Wolf sends a message of appreciation for everything that represents our Mexican community and the Latino community,” Cortes said. “The numbers in the community are growing and with it the political strength and love that we have for this state. So thank you for all you do every day.”
Mayor Nutter begin his address to the crowd with a loud ¡Que Viva Mexico!.
“Whether you’ve been here for a long time or just arrived last week, Philadelphia is one of the most welcoming cities to anyone anywhere in the United States. It is the birthplace of freedom, liberty and democracy,” Nutter said. “However you arrived here, you are here now. It is our responsibility in the United States of America to provide a pathway for those who may not have all of the paperwork in place.”
Nutter also highlighted the need for immigration reform and alluded to certain presidential candidates who might not know about diversity and only talk to people that look like them. “I would renounce any person’s ignorant insulting comments, whether to Mexican Americans or anyone else from anywhere, and that person would not be qualified to really lead the United States under any set of circumstances.”
The Mayor handed out a City Proclamation to the Consulate of Mexico in Philadelphia and to the Mexican Cultural Center, for hosting the biggest event celebrating the Independence of Mexico in the Delaware Valley. The documents proclaims Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2015 to be Mexican Independence Day in the city of Philadelphia.
“Please know that you have friends in Philadelphia. You have friends in Pennsylvania because that is who we are and we welcomed everyone to our shores. Do not let anyone say anything else in that regard. Do not let anyone put you down in any way” Nutter said. “Be proud of who you are. Be proud of being here, proud of taking care of your children, proud of owning businesses, proud to work anywhere in our city. You should be as proud as anyone to be in the United States, and we stand with you.”
Democratic mayoral candidate James Kenney also attended the ceremony assuring the community that, “we (city officials) will never going to turn our back on you.”
The candidate has been very outspoken about his stance on immigration and has vowed to continue the executive order that ends local police compliance with ICE holds. He told the crowd “We are never going to let any Federal government agency tell us how we should treat Philadelphian's of Mexican descent, or of any other group.”
“I am proud that you are here. I am proud that you celebrate your culture,” Kenney said. “Don’t lose your language — make sure your children and grandchildren continue to speak Spanish as well as English. Don’t lose your culture …. I am so happy that you have chosen Philadelphia, we have your back, just keep on working hard and happy Independence Day!”