Hispanic Heritage Month: Inspiring Stories of Abuelas in Central New York

Hispanic Heritage Month

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Our celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month takes us to La Casita Cultural Center, located in the historic Lincoln Building on Syracuse’s Near West Side. The Syracuse University’s College of Arts and Sciences program advances an educational and cultural agenda of civic engagement through research, cultural heritage, and preservation, bridging the Hispanic communities of SU and Central New York. The Center has a breathtaking art gallery, a classroom, performance space, meeting space, and a bilingual library. The coronavirus pandemic has altered celebrations this year, but not the spirit. This year’s themed exhibit is a new and unique recognition of the cultural anchors in many families, the abuelas, or grandmothers!

Through art and stories shared on the walls, we explore the impact of the abuelas, who have risen above in the face of adversity, and how they continue to sew the bright tapestry of the family. You’ll meet a young artist inspired by five generations of women, who taught him how to grow like a rose in the cement. 

You’ll also be inspired by Maria Maldonado-Lewis, Syracuse’s constituent services advocate. She’s the city’s chief problem solver. But the road to her dream job was far from easy. Struggles came early in her life. Her family faced hardship in Puerto Rico, and while they found a better life after settling in Syracuse, they also were hurt by prejudice.  Maldonado-Lewis has great pride in her culture and draws strength from tradition and family.  

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