Cinco events return after lost year

Event will honor local health care leaders

After missing out last year’s Cinco de Mayo celebrations in public due to the COVID-19 pandemic, The Hispanic Heritage of Odessa will be putting on a celebration with its “La Batalla Sigue” that will take place at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, May 5, at La Margarita Festival Grounds.

The day will end with a festival at the Odessa Marriott with an event hosted by the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

According to Hispanic Heritage of Odessa Executive Director Carol Uranga, there will be plenty of safety protocols that will be followed.

“We’re asking people to wear their masks and we’ll have hand sanitizers,” Uranga said. “We’re going to try and space them out. We’re going to do as much as we can.”

The celebration at La Margarita Festival Grounds will have entertainment provided by the Viva Mexico Folklorico Dancers with catering by La Margarita restaurant.

Uranga said proclamations will be announced by Judge Sara Kate Billingsley and Odessa Mayor Javier Joven.

“We’ve had new ideas coming in. we’re trying to bring in as much tradition and culture as we can,” Uranga said. “We’re trying to honor and acknowledge the battle against COVID. … The battle continues. Now, we’re not fighting other countries but other variants that are coming from this pandemic. It’s all of us together. It’s Odessa Strong. We have to respect each other.”

Front line workers who have been battling the pandemic will also be recognized at the ceremony with the “Tribute to Pandemic Warriors.”

“We Hispanics for Cinco de Mayo want to honor and recognize the individuals, regardless of what their background is,” Delma Chavez said. “It’s all about individuals out there who are trying to reduce the COVID-19 virus from spreading and going above and beyond to assist.”

After losing a year of observing Cinco de Mayo in public due to the coronavirus, Uranga said it’s good to be back but that there’s still more to be done with combating the virus.

“Right now, we’re hoping that we can get the message across that everyone is doing everything they can to fight this pandemic,” Uranga said. “We have a lot more to be done.”

Trying to reach that has been a challenge, according to Uranga.

“We have a lot of undocumented people who are not getting vaccinated,” Uranga said. “They have all valid reasons. First of all, they can’t take the risk of a follow up because otherwise their family gets deported. They can’t take the risks and they’re not going to. One person told me that until they can vaccinate her kids, she’s not getting vaccinated. It’s a battle and a problem that we have in the community. It’s not just Mexicans. It’s every community here.

“We have other cultures and our whole thing is geared towards working with Medical Center Hospital. We’re recognizing the effort for what they’ve done so far. They can only do so much. We never realized the scope of what was coming in. but we lost a bunch of people and there’s still a bunch of them in the hospital. They’re still fighting it every day. We need to get ourselves vaccinated and wear our masks. One person with that variant is going to kill us again. That’s part of the whole theme. It’s the battle against the pandemic.”

According to Chavez, the people being honored as pandemic warriors include MCH CEO Russell Tippin and Midland Memorial CEO Russell Myers.

“It means that we’re stepping outside of our comfort zone to recognize individuals who have made a difference in our community and we haven’t forgotten them,” Chavez said. “It means progress. It means that we’ve moved forward. We’ve had a lot of loss but we’ve had a lot of gain and that we’re here to celebrate the life.”

If you go

  • What: Cinco de Mayo “La Batalla Sigue.”
  • Where: La Margarita Festival Grounds, 1257 Monahans St.
  • When: 11:30 a.m. May 5.
  • What: Marriot Downtown Cinco de Mayo Reception.
  • Where: Marriot, E. Fifth Odessa.
  • When: 6 p.m.-8 p.m. May 5.