Hispanic Heritage In Our City


Alexa Moran, Herald Staff

A month to celebrate traditions, foods, and old salsa songs that bring us back to memory lane of family gatherings. A culture that is deeply rooted in the lives of the Latinx community. Half of our city’s population is made up of Latinx people, including myself. All spread out through the city, they are the silent heroes who make Holyoke what it is today and it is time to bring them out into the light so they can be appreciated for their acts of service.

Beginning with Reuben Urbina who founded and created the Spanish American softball leagues club in 1971, and at 80 years old his passion for the game does not wear out. He is still mentoring young athletes in Holyoke today, which goes to show his love for the game and also his abilities and experience that help young people strive. This is something that stood out to me because role models like Reuben are significant to have as you are growing up and I think this is something we need to appreciate more in our town.

Another silent hero is Iohann Vega who documents community stories based on the youth and Latinx people in our city. He is very committed and loves what he does. Documenting important milestones in our generation is very important to look back on for future youth to see. Not only does he focus on documenting but he also worked in Holyoke High Schools theater company show Clue on stage, in which he worked on the music in the show. Without him the show would not have been so amazing.

Another silent hero is Jose Bou. His work in our city really inspired me because this is something we face in our world so frequently that is not spoken about more often. He had started a Bilingual Collegiate Program due to the language barriers Latino students faced at UMass in the 70s. He provided this help to not only Latinos but to people of color, which is really important and significant in our world today. We live in a very diverse world and everyone deserves to feel like they can fit in.

The last silent hero goes by the name of Slyvia Galvan. She is an advocate for improving the equity of all students from pre-k to college not only in Holyoke but in Springfield. She works with community organizations which is something really crucial in the times we are living in. Youth in our community who are shaping into adults need to have a proper and balanced education in order for them to be able to succeed. Her work is so amazing and we show major appreciation towards her work in Holyoke.

We thank all of our silent heroes for their contributions to make Holyoke greater. This makes me feel very grateful for my heritage and I hope reading this made you really learn more about our city. We need to grow more proud of our community and culture.