Every year, on the night of Sept. 15, Mexicans gather with their families to celebrate the Cry of Independence — El Grito de Independencia. This powerful act initiates the ceremonies of Mexican Independence Day, which continue on Sept. 16 marked by a military parade, mariachi concerts, gastronomy showcases and more.
Our way of celebrating our independence is unique. On the eve of Independence Day, the president of Mexico re-enacts the Cry of Independence from the balcony of the National Palace in Mexico City, shouting the names of the independence heroes, ending the Grito with the threefold shout of “Viva Mexico!” This act originally occurred in 1810 in the town of Dolores in the state of Guanajuato, when priest Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, Father of the Mexican Independence, issued a call to arms, prompting the Mexican War of Independence.
All ambassadors and consuls of Mexico around the world replicate the Cry of Independence in their respective localities. Mexicans living in Mexico and abroad take this opportunity to reflect on our history and culture and in the many little details and important moments of greatness, sadness and tragedy which compose the chapters of our millenary history.
The celebration of the Mexican Independence Day in the United States constitutes for us an opportunity to reaffirm the strength of the friendship between our peoples and to recognize the enormous socio-economical contributions the Mexican workers bring to the local societies they live in. More than 140,000 Mexicans or people of Mexican origin live in Nebraska. Many of them are businessmen, while many others work in the food industry, construction sector and in the meatpacking plants. This workforce contributes approximately $2.1 billion to the economy of the Husker State and with the creation of 17,000 jobs. Mexican companies also believe in this beautiful state in the Midlands. Important Mexican brands such as LALA, Bimbo and Gruma have investments in Nebraska, creating more than 1,500 jobs locally. Moreover, Mexico has become the top export market for Nebraska, and our bilateral trade in 2019 reached $1.5 billion, accredited with the creation of 34,000 jobs in the state.
The proclamations granted in 2020 by Gov. Pete Ricketts and Mayor Jean Stothert declaring Sept. 16 the Day of the Mexican Independence is a recognition of the contributions made by Mexican-Americans and the Mexican migrants to the well-being of the state.
The Consulate of Mexico in Omaha has fostered partnerships with many Nebraskan allies with the aim of strengthening mutual communication. Dr. Mary Hawkins, President of Bellevue University, has been a crucial partner in this regard. Dr. Hawkins has helped the Consulate in the promotion of the Mexican culture, history and traditions, and has participated in the organization of events and celebration of Mexican festivities. Dr. Hawkins has played an instrumental role in coordinating the Educational Orientation Window at our local Consulate and has been a partner in promoting the participation of BU in the Consulate’s scholarships program to benefit Mexican youth and adults expanding their educational opportunities.
For all the above, in the framework of the celebration of the 210th anniversary of the Mexican Independence, on behalf of the Government of Mexico, I will bestow on Bellevue University President Dr. Mary Hawkins the Ohtli award. Ohtli is a native Mexican word, of nahuatl origin that means road, the road on which you and I, all of us, walk daily to reach our destiny. Mary has been walking down her road persistently looking to build bridges of support and understanding between diverse cultures, finding strength in the diversity and mutual acknowledgment from people of different origins.
2020 has become a very challenging year due to the pandemic created by COVID-19. For this reason, this year the ceremony of El Grito de Independencia will be transmitted virtually by the Consulate to our Mexican community living in Nebraska and Iowa and to all of our friends in these states that constitute our consular circumscription.
Guadalupe Sanchez is the Mexican consul in Omaha, with consular jurisdiction in Nebraska and Iowa.
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