BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated from Sept. 15 through Oct. 15 to celebrate the history, culture and contributions of citizens with ancestors from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.

The recognition of Hispanic culture started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week but was upgraded to being celebrated for a month.

Since 1989, every United States president has given a proclamation to mark Hispanic Heritage Month.

Hispanic businesses in Louisiana have a champion in their corner. The mission of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Louisiana is to help grow, support and promote Hispanic businesses.

With over 800 members making up the chamber, Mayra Pineda, CEO and founder of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Louisiana, said the mission is to connect Latinos with opportunities.

“We know that our Hispanic business owners are very, very creative, talented, and hardworking people. So, they deserve every opportunity, just like everybody else,” said Pineda.

Meanwhile, the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce held its annual trade show with key goals in mind, to foster a favorable environment for Hispanic-owned businesses.

“Our goal is to build a more equitable community with diversity, equity, and inclusion where everybody can access opportunities. You know, that that’s the goal is that we can have we can sit at the table, have the same opportunities as everybody else so that we can grow,” said Pineda.

The Baton Rouge Police Department is working to not let a language barrier prevent them from serving the local Hispanic community.

“Because of that language, they get some type of mistrust because they don’t know. It makes me so happy just to know that I’m helping them,” said BRPD Sgt. Reynaldo Sierra.

Language can often be a barrier to those who don’t speak English. Now, Jefferson Baptist Church has opened its doors to provide free services to improve the lives of the Hispanic community.

Each Wednesday, the church holds an ESL class to teach Spanish speakers the English language.

“There’s not a lot of resources for the people so they can learn English and it’s sometimes hard because of the hours and I think the hours are very accessible and the place they let us borrow so we can have the English classes,” said Ana Salgado, an ESL student.  

Dorcas Ministry is using lessons from Bible verses to heart. The group is working each week to make clothes for those less fortunate in Latin America.

“We’re doing Mexico, Salvador, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Venezuela, we do a lot. Everything is for the real poor people overseas because the people here even if poor, are not poor. When we’re coming from another country, we know what it is to be poor,” said Miryam Velasquez with Dorcas Ministry.

Living the American dream, a Hispanic woman is using her newly established food business to bring a taste of Mexico to the Capital City.  

Adriana Escobedo Herrera is the owner and operator of Mis Antojitos Jarochos food truck. After coming from Venezuela, Mexico for a better future, Herrera has been in Baton Rouge for eight years paving her way to do what she loves, catering to the need for authentic Mexican food.

“Enchiladas Jarochas, which are tortillas handmade. We also make tamales, the menu I’m commenting, zacawil, we make the traditional tacos, that we do here, trompo, asada and chicken,” said Herrera.

The food truck can be found at 940 O’Neal Lane in Baton Rouge. Its hours of operation are from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays and Thursdays and from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. They’re closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.