While celebrating heritage, Nashville leaders cite need for more Hispanic representation

Nashville celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month
Hispanic Heritage Month
Posted at 5:31 PM, Sep 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-17 23:12:16-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The Latino population in Nashville makes up nearly 14%, and during this Hispanic Heritage Month, events throughout the city will celebrate the contributions of the community.

For years, Latinos have planted deep roots in Nashville. Since 1990, the population has bloomed in Davidson County. Nearly 100,000 Latinos call Nashville home.

"I'm just so pleased to see all this growth and learn how it all started. To see people that look like me. Latinos, people from everywhere from Mexico, from Colombia, from Guatemala," Diana Perez with Conexion Americas said.

This year the nonprofit Conexion Americasis celebrating 20 years. At one time, it was the only organization helping improve the lives of the Hispanic population in Nashville, but now that's no longer the case.

"Throughout the month, it's not just Conexion Americas, there's a lot of other organizations celebrating and doing parties, and doing festivals," Perez said.

The growth of the community is undeniable when residents look at the businesses flourishing on Nolensville Road.

While there's lots to celebrate, Nashville's only Latina councilmember, Sandra Sepulveda, said there's also changes that need to happen to make sure the diversity of the city is represented in leadership.

"I think we're down to three Latinx elected officials in this state," she said.

Sepulveda is the second Hispanic to serve on city council ever and said making the city more equitable needs to be a priority.

"I want to see more Latinos in positions of power. So, not just me on the council. People across the state as well. There shouldn't be a reason why I am the highest ranking Latino elected official in the state of Tennessee, and I'm just a district council member," she said.

Sepulveda said Metro Council meetings are now translated in Spanish, and this is a step in the right direction to make the city more equitable.

Last year, Latino Leaders in Tennessee formed Fuerza, a political action commission to mobilize Latino candidates and voters.

Other events celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month are below: