‘It’s a fight’: Cairo residents spread equality during Hispanic Heritage Month

South Georgia advocates for the Hispanic community are making sure their contributions to our region's economy, culture, and customs are being recognized
Published: Sep. 26, 2023 at 7:20 PM EDT
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CAIRO, Ga. (WALB) - Advocates for the Hispanic community are making sure their contributions to our region’s economy, culture and customs are being recognized.

To some, Hispanic Heritage Month is a celebration full of colors, movement and traditions, but for others, it means so much more than breaking out their dancing shoes.

For Silvia Alba, it’s a chance to reflect on the struggles and barriers the Hispanic community has had to overcome.

“Barriers as far as not being as much recognized and embraced. It’s something new to them to be able to recognize our holiday,” Alba said.

The Hispanic community is one that’s grown throughout the years. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2022, the Hispanic population reached 63.7% — making it the largest ethnic minority in the nation. That growth is also reflected in the city of Cairo.

Cairo Police Chief Giovannie Santos says the Hispanic population makes up 19-20% of the overall 10,000 people in the city.

“Becoming police chief and being the first Hispanic police chief, I think it is a great step forward and it does show that Hispanics can make a change in their own communities,” he said.

Alba said more representation in her community calls for more resources. Like many throughout the Hispanic community, She grew up working in the fields with her parents here in South Georgia and said while she grew to love working out there, she also watched her community go through hardships like language barriers and harsh living conditions. Now, through her non-profit “Mission Vision Foundation,” Silvia said she’s able to give a helping hand to her people.

“I have two beautiful girls and I do have a vision of my daughters being somewhere where they’re loved, supported they’re embraced, and they feel equal to everyone else,” she said.

To end Hispanic Heritage Month with a bang, Alba said she’s hosting her 4th annual Unity in the Community outreach event on October 14th at the Jackie Robinson Boys and Girls club. If you visit our website, I’ll have more information.

“It’s a fight. It really is a fight. It’s a good fight. And the way to continue doing is (to) keep showing up,” Alba said.