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TWIN FALLS — Music poured from the College of Southern Idaho’s Student Union as guests passed around plates piled with pink and yellow Mexican sweet bread.

At the microphone, Yunuen Carrillo was dressed in a traditional, bright blue charro outfit while she crooned mariachi tunes and urged patrons to get up from their seats and follow her in a dance line.

CSI hosted the Diversity Council’s Celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month Tuesday to celebrate the contributions of the Magic Valley’s growing Hispanic community, organizers and participants said.

“For me it’s an honor. I have a big passion for sharing our roots with the community so people can get to know us,” Carrillo, who traveled from Utah to perform, said in Spanish. “Different cultures don’t divide us, they unite us.”

Twin Falls Mayor Shawn Barigar read a proclamation, which he also read at Monday’s City Council meeting, declaring it officially Hispanic Heritage Month in Twin Falls. Hispanic Heritage Month officially begins Sept. 15 and continues to Oct. 15. It starts mid-month to coincide with seven Latin American independence dates that take place from the 15 to 18.

“I appreciate those of Hispanic heritage for being here, and I appreciate those not of Hispanic heritage for stepping up and learning more to be a better community,” Barigar said.

Speakers said that the event not only served to honor Latino history, but those who will continue to carry on the culture. Student body president Samantha Sanchez said in her speech that she felt it was her duty to continue her education to lead and uplift the Latino community.

“This month is about our culture, triumphs and independence,” Sanchez said. “But it’s also about future generations.”

Attendees said that the event served as an invitation to find common ground between diverse communities.

“We’re here to love each other but also to forgive and respect each other,” Alex Hernandez, known as radio personality Cuban Flow on Latinx 97.5, said in Spanish. “People can spend years hating each other, but that shouldn’t be. We should look to our neighbor and say ‘I love you. God bless you.’ We’re here to break chains.”

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Megan Taros is a Times-News reporter and Report for America corps member covering the Magic Valley’s Hispanic community and Jerome County. You can support her work by donating to Report for America at http://bit.ly/supportRFA.

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