Marshalltown’s mayor is giving some official recognition to the city’s Latinos. They make up nearly one-third of the local population.
Marshalltown made its own little piece of history this past week when Mayor Joel Greer officially proclaimed the beginning of Hispanic Heritage Month. Even though Marshalltown has a large population of Latino residents, this is the first time Greer has made such a statement. Latinos comprise nearly 30 percent of the city’s population.
After he announced the proclamation at the city council meeting, he said he should have done this last year.
“I’m happy to sign this proclamation, I’m sorry that we didn’t do this last year, this should be an annual event,” Greer said.
The city organized a Latino roundtable before the council meeting where residents could talk about their experiences with the mayor. Greer said these meetings are something he plans to continue in the future to promote diverse voices in the city.
Wendy Soltero, business manager for the Marshalltown YMCA, attended the roundtable. She spoke directly to Greer.
“I think this is great because we can’t do it alone. There’s a lot of obstacles for us. We have great intentions and every time we try, we hit a rock,” Soltero said. “By you signing the proclamation, I think it’s a great step because then we can start moving forward and say yeah, we’re going beyond just good intentions.”
Participants of the roundtable laughed after Greer said “as I’ve been saying, we have way too many pale white males sitting up here at council meetings and I’m one of them.”
Greer said he hopes this proclamation, along with the meetings, will help support the growing Latino community in the city and make sure they are heard in local government.
Hispanic Heritage Month runs from Sep. 15 through Oct. 15.