Celebrating the Call for Freedom

Celebrating the Call for Freedom


In the largest public event since the pandemic, a crowd of more than 800 people turned out at Heritage University to celebrate El Grito de Independencia Cultural Fiesta on September 16.

El Grito is an important traditional celebration in Mexico that commemorates the start of the country’s war for independence. Each year on September 15 at 11:00 p.m., Mexico’s president rings a bell at the National Palace in Mexico City and shouts out a call of patriotism based on the Cry of Dolores, the call out made two centuries ago by Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla that started the war for independence. This call is replicated in cities and towns throughout Mexico, with the highest-ranking government official making the call. Here at Heritage, Héctor Iván Goday Priske, Consul of Mexico in Seattle, led the crowd through the Cry of Dolores.

Heritage’s El Grito de Independencia celebration featured traditional foods and beverages, music, dancing, a resource fair, and games and hands-on activities for the entire family. Entertainment was provided by Grupo Projecto 2020, Raices de Mi Pueblo Grupo Folklorico and DJ Manny. Along with the activities hosted by Heritage University student groups, participants interacted with community service organizations from throughout the Yakima Valley who attended the resource fair.

“The vast majority of our students have roots in the Mexican culture. Many have family who still lives in Mexico,” said Martin Valadez, regional director of Heritage @CBC and chair of the event planning committee. “It was extremely rewarding to be part of an event that gives them the opportunity to celebrate their heritage and to share the richness of their culture with not only the rest of the Heritage community but with the community at large as well.”

Dr. Andrew Sund awarded the Heritage University Community Service Award to Robert Ozuna during the program. Ozuna is a Heritage University alumnus who earned a Bachelor of Arts in Public Administration in 1991. He is the president and CEO of RGI Corporation, which works with non-profit organizations to research, write and manage state and federal grants to provide the funding necessary to fulfill their organizational missions.