By the time President Lyndon Johnson set aside the week of September 15 to honor Hispanic heritage in 1968, the San Francisco East Bay was already home to nearly 110,000 people — 7 percent of which could trace their roots to Latin America or Spain.
Over 40 years later, nearly a quarter of the nearly 3 million residents in Contra Costa and Alameda counties identify as Latino or Hispanic— in Concord specifically, 33% identify as Hispanic— while the country celebrates a month dedicated to Hispanic heritage. National Hispanic Heritage Month(Spanish: Mes Nacional de la Herencia Hispana) is a period from 15 September to 15 October in the United States for recognizing the contributions and influence of Hispanic Americans to the history, culture, and achievements of the United States.
The observance is timed to coincide with days for specific celebrations including Mexican Independence Day, as well as the independence day for five Central American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras, and Chile.
While most Bay Area Latinos are Mexican-American, much of the growth in the region’s Latino population has been from those who trace their origins to Central and South America. According to Mercury news, Concord, for instance, also has one of the Bay Area’s largest Peruvian-American communities.
As Concord becomes an increasingly diverse city it has been to the benefit of the greater community. The city now boasts around 40 different restaurants with roots in Latin America as well as art and culture that nods to the city’s vibrant culture. As we prepare to celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month, Visit Concord has assembled a Taco Trail that residents and visitors can follow to explore delicious local food and earn fun Concord merchandise.
Another nod to the month comes in the form of the Concord Jazz Festival. From September 16 to 20, the city in partnership with Concord Couch Concerts and Visit Concord have put together a line up of musicians and Concord Jazz virtual events to celebrate jazz in Concord. The City of Concord will be hosting a virtual Latin Jazz night on their Facebook Live series, Concord Live! Join the live event on Thursday, September 17th from 6p-7pm for an upbeat hour of jazz with the band, Soul Sauce. Soul Sauce was born out of love for the unique musical sounds created by jazz legend Cal Tjader, this group of pro players recreates this music for today’s audience
The origin of Concord starts with the arrival of Don Pacheco Salvio, its founder. Pacheco received a land grant for all of Concord’s Ygnacio Valley and then gave parcels to the residents of Todos Santos (now Concord). Because of this, these new residents were able to establish businesses and lives in the area. The Todos Santos historic downtown plaza was dedicated in 1869 by founders Pacheco and Galindo.
In 2018, Todos Santos Plaza was named one of three Great Places in California by the American Planning Association. Residents and visitors alike can pay homage to Concord’s heritage this month by checking out the city’s historic buildings. During Concord’s 150th Anniversary, a bronze statue of Don Salvio Pacheco was installed in Todos Santos Plaza. In his left hand, you can see that land grant he received and gave away.