NORFOLK, Va. — On Sunday, many people went to Norfolk’s Ocean View Beach Park to celebrate Hispanic heritage and culture.
Members of the Hispanic Chamber of Coastal Virginia hosted the Nuestra Feria 2022 festival celebrating National Hispanic Heritage month.
A taste of culture and the rhythms of the Hispanic and Latino communities made their presence known for many at the event.
“Hampton Roads is changing, and to be in touch with the community, you got to know who’s here," said Cherise Newsome, Hampton Roads Community Foundation Vice President of Communications and Marketing. "Our Hispanic friends have been here. They make awesome contributions to our community and the economy."
The event featured several sponsors and guests including law enforcement, medical professionals and business owners.
“Virginia has about 350,000 Latinos, and that’s a big population," said Johnny Garcia, president of the Hispanic Chamber of Coastal Virginia.
Garcia said the event is more than a cultural gathering.
“Because we as Latinos typically don’t go out and ask for help unless it’s dire," he said.
Organizers aimed to provide resources and aid for the community.
“Specifically, EVMS is here to help people with blood pressure [and] to help them with getting vaccinations," said Garcia.
He also said the organization is helping to address human trafficking.
“People are actually coming to us that have been trafficked, and they're concerned because they are here illegally," said Garcia. "So we want to figure out how we can help them, either get back home or stay in the country legally."
Garcia said the Hispanic population continues to grow and become part of Hampton Roads.
“We, as a silent minority, won’t be so silent very long," said Garcia.
Hispanic Chamber of Coastal Virginia members said they plan to hold another event on October 15 in Virginia Beach.