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Antonio Reynoso, Brooklyn’s first Latino beep, closes Latino Heritage Month with ‘authentic’ musical celebration

antonio reynoso latino heritage month
Brooklyn Borough President closed out Latino Heritage Month with an authentic musical celebration on Oct. 13.
Office of the Brooklyn Borough President

Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso, the first Latino to hold the position in Brooklyn, closed out Latino Heritage Month with a musical celebration at Borough Hall on Oct. 13.

The beep — together with the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership and the Jazz Foundation of America — celebrated the end the annual national celebration with an afternoon of authentic music and dancing courtesy of Brooklyn-born DJ DP One, local Bomba group Colectiv@, and a performance by the Steven Kroon Latin Jazz Sextet. 

people dancing at latino heritage month
Colectiv@, a Bomba group, danced and taught Brooklynites some of their moves at the Latino Heritage Month event. Office of the Brooklyn Borough President

“We closed #LatinoHeritageMonth the only way we know how: enjoying music and performances from a few cultures that make up our beautiful and diverse people,” Reynoso said on Twitter after the event. 

Bad weather forced the event inside the rotunda at Borough Hall, but that didn’t make the celebration any less lively — DJ DP One opened the celebration before Colectiv@ danced and offered some Bomba lessons to attendees. Once they’d demonstrated their moves, the Jazz Sextet took over to close out the afternoon with live music and even more dancing.

“It is such an honor to be able to celebrate Latino Heritage Month in Borough Hall as Brooklyn’s first ever Latino Borough President,” Reynoso told Brooklyn Paper in a statement. “My time here is dedicated to all the people who made me, to the strength of our community, and to the culture we have built in this borough and city around getting the job done.”

National Hispanic Heritage Month has been celebrated in the U.S. since 1968 — when it was introduced as Hispanic Heritage Week — and runs from Sept. 15 through Oct. 15. The mid-month beginning and end dates, though unconventional, aren’t arbitrary — a number of Latin American countries celebrate the anniversary from their independence from Spain on Sept. 15, with Mexico and Chilé marking their independence days that same week. 

antonio reynoso at latino heritage month
Reynoso is the first Latino Brooklyn Borough President, and marked his first Latino Heritage Month in-office with a lively musical celebration.Office of the Brooklyn Borough President

In addition to being the first Latino beep in Brooklyn, Reynoso is the first Dominican borough president in the whole city, according to his office. About 30% of New York City’s population and 19% of Brooklyn’s population is Hispanic or Latino, according to the U.S. Census. Nearly half of the city’s Latino immigrants were born in the Dominican Republic. During his tenure in the city council, Reynoso represented some of Brooklyn’s most significant Latino communities — nearly 60% of the residents of Bushwick, one of the neighborhoods within his old district, are Hispanic, according to city data.

In Williamsburg, nonprofit organizations El Puente and Los Sures have laid the foundation for local activism from affordable housing to environmental justice, and, in Sunset Park UPROSE has staked its claim as the borough’s oldest Latino community organization. On Oct. 16, a day after Hispanic Heritage Month wrapped up, the Brooklyn-based ¡Tú Cuentas! Cine Youth Fest also finished its run, awarding cash prizes to young Latinx filmmakers as part of an effort to increase Hispanic and Latinx representation in film and television.

brooklyn borough hall latino month music
The Steven Kroon Latin Jazz Sextet closed out the event as Brooklynites danced their hearts out following a lesson and performances from DJ DP One and Bomba group Colectiv@. Office of the Brooklyn Borough President

“Housing, healthcare, transportation – we have a lot of work ahead, so it’s important we create these opportunities to gather, enjoy song and dance, and celebrate the many backgrounds that make up our borough,” Reynoso said. “I’m so grateful for all the artists who came out – DJ DP One, Bomba group Colectiv@, and the Steven Kroon Latin Jazz Sextet – and filled our day with good vibes and great dancing, as well as our sponsor Ponce Bank and other supporters like Downtown Brooklyn Partnership and Jazz Foundation of America.”

On Oct. 20, the beep’s office will also celebrate Polish heritage with a celebration of live music and dance from the Greenpoint Children’s Choir, the Polish American Folk Dance Company, and more — with plenty of food and fun! Find more information and a link to register online.

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