Arlington County, Virginia News

For Immediate Release

Friday, September 15, 2006

Arlington Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month

Chairman Zimmerman signs proclamation; activities planned throughout the County

For information contact: Serena Ingre-Martinez, (703) 228-0590,


ARLINGTON, Va. – Arlington County is celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 by offering a series of free events that include cross-cultural films, concerts and book discussions in Spanish. This year’s theme is “One America – Celebrating our Diversity.”

County Board Chairman Christopher Zimmerman kicked off the County’s celebration this week by issuing a proclamation and hosting a ceremony and reception at Courthouse Plaza. The County event on Wednesday, Sept. 13, included a performance by Panamanian folk dancers in traditional attire, and a presentation by County Board Member Walter Tejada, who highlighted the contributions of several Arlington Latinos to the community.

“The Latino community is a vital part of Arlington County,” Zimmerman said. “Our ongoing commitment to inclusion and diversity is the core of Arlington’s vision, and Latinos are a vibrant part of that vision.” 

“Hispanic Heritage Month is a great opportunity to celebrate Latino heritage and continue to demonstrate the many ways the Latino community enriches every aspect of our society,” Tejada said.

Latinos Making a Difference in Arlington

Among the group and individual success stories Tejada recognized were:

  • Comite Pro-Bolivia – Non-profit organization founded in Arlington in the 80s. Comite Pro-Bolivia’s colorful dance groups have featured in numerous community events, including the Neighborhood Day Parade. 
  • Hispanic Support Group Team – Recognized for its volunteer work with Arlington’s Offender Aid and Restoration, the team – formed two years ago by Kayra Alhambra, Maria Williams and Mildred Ortiz – provides a forum for Spanish-speaking inmates to discuss issues and plan a more successful post-detention life. 
  • El Pollo Rico Restaurant – Popular Latino-owned grilled chicken restaurant that has been recognized as one of Arlington’s Small Business Initiatives success stories. 
  • Staff Sergeant Felix Herrera – El Salvadoran immigrant who has served in the U.S. Army with distinction and participated in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq between 2003 and 2005.

Tejada, a Salvadoran immigrant who came to this country at age 13 and has risen to become Virginia’s highest-ranking Latino elected official, is himself a source of pride for the Arlington community.

Latinos in Arlington and County Government

Arlington has the highest proportion of Latinos of any jurisdiction in the Washington Metropolitan area. Approximately 20 percent of the County’s residents are Latino, according to the 2000 U.S. Census. Eighteen percent of Arlingtonians aged five or older speak Spanish at home. 

            Today approximately, 12% of theArlington County government’s workforce is Hispanic, compared to 8% in 1996. Of these, approximately 57% are Latino women and 43% are Latino men. Additionally, 10% of the County government’s workforce in management and professional positions is Latino.

            Latinos are represented in 77% of all County departmental units where there are ten or more employees. In FY July 1, 2005 and June 30, 2006, out of 379 hires, 51 were Hispanic. 

Hispanic Heritage Month 2006 Events in Arlington

Residents and the public are invited to attend these free events:

Cross Cultural Film Series

  • Justice for My People: Dr. Hector P. Garcia Story.

Thursday, Oct 5, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Central Library, 703-953-4480.

A 90-minute documentary produced by KEDT-TV. Public Television in Corpus Christi.  Program traces the rise of the Mexican American civil rights movement from the 1920s to the 1980s. 


  • Fiesta!  An Afternoon with Jose Luis Orozco

Sunday, October 1, 4:30 p.m., Central Library

Bilingual Family program of Latin American Songs & Music.

  • Alturas Duo: A Musical Voyage

Sunday, October 15, 3:00 p.m., Central Library

Alturas Duo is recognized as one of the most entertaining ensembles in the chamber music world today. The Duo brings together the unusual combination of the viola, charango and guitar. 


  • Salsa y Salsa Dance

Saturday, Oct. 14, 2 p.m., Columbia Pike Library

Earl Rush, founder of Stuck on Salsa and his partner Maribel Soto teach fundamentals of Salsa and its distillation of other forms of Latin and Afro-Caribbean dances including the Rhumba, Cha Cha Cha and the Mambo.

Spanish Language Book Discussions

  • Conversando Sobre Libros: Abril Rojo de Santiago Roncagliolo, Winner of Alfaguara Award, 2006. 

Thursday, Sept. 21, 7 p.m., Central Library

  • Spanish-language Book Discussion: Persepolis

Tuesday, Sept. 26, 7 p.m., Columbia Pike Library.

For more information about these and other events visit,ñol


Arlington, Va., is a world-class residential, business and tourist location that was originally part of the "10 miles square" parcel of land surveyed in 1791 to be the Nation's Capital. It is the geographically smallest self-governing county in the United States, occupying slightly less than 26 square miles. Arlington maintains a rich variety of stable neighborhoods, quality schools and enlightened land use, and received the Environmental Protection Agency's highest award for "Smart Growth" in 2002. Home to some of the most influential organizations in the world - including the Pentagon - Arlington stands out as one of America's preeminent places to live, visit and do business.

Last Modified: December 07, 2007
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