Highlandtown community center shines during Hispanic Heritage Month

BALTIMORE — Hispanic Heritage Month is a time to uplift the Latin-X community in Baltimore and across Maryland.

That’s what a community center in Highlandtown is aiming to do: reconnect people with their Hispanic heritage.

“Our culture is a very rich culture, music, food, costumes, dresses—all of that plays a role in who we are,” Angelo Solera, founder of Nuestras Raices, said.

Tucked in the heart of Highlandtown on Gough Street there is a vibrant hub called Casa de la Cultura, or House of Culture.

Inside Casa de la Cultura there is elaborate work by Hispanic artists—many of which are local. Their work shows the heart of the Latin-X grit and the history of their resistance against society’s assumptions.

“All of us are not Mexican, we don’t all eat tacos, we all don’t dance salsa, we are definitely not all illegal aliens and so forth,” Solera said. 

That’s the epitome of why Nuestras Raices is so important.

“In many ways, we are treat[ed] as second-class citizens,” Solera said.

But at the heart of what the organization is advocating for is equality, fair treatment, and a seat at the table in Charm City, Solera said. 

“We are fixing houses. We are building roads. We are keeping the grass cut, We are fixing your meals at the restaurant. We are cleaning your rooms at the hotels,” Solera said. “We open businesses. I mean, we contribute so much.” ‘

The Latin-X community doesn’t get the respect it deserves, but still, its members persist in their music, and share the joy and vibrancy of their culture, in the hopes that they, too, are making Baltimore better for other Latinos.

“Our struggle is the struggle of everybody else,” Solera said. “We don’t want anything different than anybody else. We have kids and families, and we love our traditions, and we want to be in contact because that’s who we are.”  

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