Ogden city council draws crowd for Hispanic history month

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WSU President Charles Wight speaks at the Ogden City council meeting. Wight said he was pleased to recognize Hispanic Heritage month. (Photo by Lichelle Jenkins/ The Signpost)

A standing room crowd packed the Ogden City Council chambers Tuesday night.

The crowd gathered in to listen to the city council declare a joint proclamation with the mayor honoring Hispanic Heritage Month.

“I’ve been on the city council for 11 years and I have never seen a room this full of happy people,” said council member Amy Wicks, adding the only time she sees the room that full is when people are angry.

Hispanic Heritage Month goes from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, in honor of the eight Latin American countries that celebrate their independence during that time.

This is the first time the Ogden City Council has issued a proclamation honoring the contributions of Latinos to the city.

Weber State University President Charles Wight spoke at the event, saying he was pleased to join in the recognition of Hispanic Heritage month.

He said when WSU started 125 years ago it was built to serve the Ogden community. He noted the community is now 30 percent Latino or Hispanic.

“The Hispanic and Latino community has changed Ogden since Weber State began 125 years ago and they have changed for the better,” Wight said. “One of my top priorities as Weber State president is achieving diversity on our campus.”

A group called Latinos United Promoting Education and Civic Engagement (LUPEC) worked with the city council to make the event happen.

“We’re members of this community who sometimes aren’t fully integrated, so this allows the community to know that the city considers us part of the community and we have something to contribute,” said Azenett Garza, vice president of LUPEC and associate professor of psychology at WSU.

Juan Gutierrez spoke of his trials growing up in Ogden, talking about restaurants and movie theaters that wouldn’t admit Latinos in the 1950s and 1960s.

He said times have changed and made a passionate plea for the Latinos in the audience to get an education.

“We’re living in a very special time,” Garza said. “Not only the Weber State president, but city council members are very supportive of trying to make sure the Latino community are able to graduate and get good jobs and careers.”