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Arts and Entertainment

Latino Heritage Month Kicks off With Vibrant Sound and Colors

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The 2009 Latino Heritage Month Celebration got off to a rousing start yesterday at City Hall as the annual event began with a ceremony that included food, music, dancing, and the presentation of awards to local legends.

Hosted by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, the opening ceremonies themed “Embracing our roots: The tapestry that built Los Angeles” saw a diverse crowd celebrating the month of special events, and honoring well-known Latinos for their contributions to Los Angeles.

This year’s honorees are: Jaime Escalante, a professor and teacher of mathematics renowned for his work teaching students calculus at Garfield High School in Los Angeles, portrayed in the 1988 movie Stand and Deliver; Jimmy Smits, an accomplished actor whose credits include The West Wing, NYPD Blue, L.A. Law and most recently El Traspatio, who helped found the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts to advance the presence of Latinos in the media, telecommunications and entertainment industries; and Grammy-nominated artist Sheila E. [Press release]

LAist Featured Photos contributor current events was on hand to see the colorful sights and hear the lively sounds of song and dance--and caught the Mayor and Smits taking turns in the percussion section, too.Says Villaraigosa: “Latino Heritage Month is an opportunity for all Angelenos to learn and share the creativity and enterprising spirit that have been the hallmark of the City of Angels since its foundation.” In theory a list of scheduled events is on the CultureLA site, but, uh, we can't find it there, either.