a gateway to America."
The district also is a "very important business corridor, like Delaware or Elmwood" avenues, said Rivera, who sponsored the July 2012 resolution that created the Hispanic Heritage District.
"I want to make sure that when people arrive in Buffalo from the Peace Bridge, that what they see is spectacular," said Rivera, who also was the first guest on a new Spanish-language talk show that launched in April on Time Warner Channel 20.
"LaVoz de WNY" is a public affairs program that runs 6:30 to 7 p.m. on Thursdays and 1 to 1:30 p.m. on Saturdays.
The public affairs show was created by Maria Rivera, a Puerto Rican native who is not related to the councilman. Rivera is a diversity program assistant at Roswell Park Cancer Institute, where she created a program for Latino employees called Hispanic Employment Network Resource Group -- ENRG, for short. The group's purpose is to get the hospital connected with Hispanic employees and the Hispanic community.
In addition, she is planning to launch a live radio program with the same Spanish-language format to try to reach people who miss the cable access show.
"What I'm trying to do is give an opportunity for people who only speak Spanish," she said.
One of the guests on this month's "LaVoz" is Dr. Raul Vazquez, who runs Urban Family Practice on lower Niagara Street. Vazquez addressed health issues like hypertension, asthma and diabetes on the show.
He said "LaVoz" reaches a market that traditionally hasn't been touched and that it can be used to integrate residents who speak only Spanish into the mainstream.
"If you can speak Spanish, you can pretty much survive on the West Side. But a lot end up having issues" when they go beyond those borders, he said.
Vazquez also pointed out that Spanish-only television networks -- like Univision -- don't provide local information, which is another reason "LaVoz" is important.
"They can get information on what's going on in Buffalo, what services are in Buffalo," he said. "In light of the growing number of Hispanics ... it's a good way to bridge that gap."
"It's a way to communicate to our community," said Councilman Rivera. who was the guest for the first show in April.
The councilman also provided $10,000 in seed money for the new WNY Hispanic American Veterans Memorial, which was unveiled last month at the Buffalo & Erie County Naval & Military Park on the waterfront. Situated in front of the USS Sullivan naval war ship, the tribute is a life-sized, three-dimensional sculpture of a female soldier standing alongside a male comrade as they pay a final tribute to a fallen soldier.
The two figures are facing a Battlefield Cross that is pointed downward into the ground and represents a soldier killed in action. A helmet is atop the rifle, and at the bottom are a pair of combat boots that represent the last march of the battle.
Also recognized on the memorial are the 65th Infantry Regimen, a predominantly Puerto Rican unit nicknamed "The Borinqueneers," and the Gabriel A. Rodriguez American Legion Post 1928.
The memorial was the idea of Ventura Colon, a Puerto Rican native who grew up in Buffalo and makes it a point to stop at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial whenever he goes to the Washington, D.C., area to visit his sister. Each time is a very emotional experience for Colon, especially when he remembers some of his childhood friends who fought in Vietnam with him -- two of whom encountered agent orange-illnesses, he said.
On one of his trips a few years ago, Colon wondered what it would take to get a monument built here that honors Hispanic American military veterans from Western New York.
His idea came to life on June 14 when the memorial was unveiled.
"We had to do something to recognize all of these people," Colon said. "All of these friends and neighbors and sons. We served honorably.
(c)2013 The Buffalo News (Buffalo, N.Y.)
Visit The Buffalo News (Buffalo, N.Y.) at www.buffalonews.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services
Most Popular Stories
- 15 Myths That Could Ruin Your Hispanic Ad Campaign
- AIG to Create 230 Jobs in Charlotte
- General Motors Names Mary Barra as First Female CEO
- Russia Says Nyet to Canada North Pole Claim
- Bipartisan Negotiators Reach Modest Budget Agreement
- Justin Bieber Visits Typhoon Victims, Plays Concert
- Senate Dems Move Forward With Obama Nominees
- MasterCard to Split Shares, Raise Dividend
- New Obama Aide to Focus on Climate Change
- Obama Nominee Confirmed for D.C. Appeals Court