SAN ANGELO, Texas — The Hispanic Heritage Center and Cultural Museum was birthed from a realization that the Hispanic community needed a voice inside of the city.

“We started a Facebook page at that time and we did thirty days of honoring our past and people in San Angelo,” said Suzanna Valenzuela.

Hispanic Heritage and the importance of carrying on the memories of those before fueled those with the museum. Suzanna Valenzuela tells us research for it has brought light to many significant people who made everlasting change in San Angelo.

“Armando Figueroa, who was the first Hispanic City Councilman,” said Valenzuela, “and it was when the districts were at-large, so that the entire community voted for him to be in office at a time when that was not heard of.”

Figueroa’s daughter went on to be the first Hispanic Homecoming Queen at Central High School.

“He was unable to attend the Homecoming dance at that time because it wasn’t allowed, so, I mean we’ve just come so fat that’s something we don’t even expect to hear.”

And that reality that many Hispanic people had to go through is another checkpoint in the importance of the museum and the awareness it will bring.

“There’s not really a place where we can go and say ‘This is where the Hispanic community has this history,’ it’s going to be such an asset for the entire community moving forward.”

While there is not a physical museum at this time, that’s something they’re all working towards becoming a reality.

“We do have certain goals that we have to meet before we can start applying for grants and we do have a couple of locations that we’re looking at,” said Valenzuela. “We would love to be, of course, in the cultural district where the other museums and everything are.”

Bringing the museum to life takes money from grants and fundraisers, like events coming up to celebrate Hispanic heritage. Last year, a virtual 5k ended up being a hit that raised a good bit of funds.

“Día de los Muertos will go to the creation of the San Angelo Hispanic Heritage Museum and Cultural Center.”

At the end of the day Hispanic Heritage Month and the Hispanic Heritage Museum and Cultural Center go hand-in-hand; both a chance for people to reflect.

“It’s such a neat time to reflect on those people,” said Valenzuela, “because we really, I mean — I think about this all the time because it’s something I’ve been working on — nut, you know, during this month it’s just amped up because we’re really trying to find those people.”