KILLEEN, Texas — In Killeen, the Hispanic community makes up about 26% of the population.
Tuesday evening, ahead of a council meeting, Killeen Mayor Jose Segarra hosted a ceremony to show its appreciation of the Hispanic community and local Hispanic organizations.
Segarra presented an official proclamation of Hispanic Heritage Month, which is a tradition that's done every year.
Local organizations that do work in the Hispanic community were invited to attend, including the Hispanic-American Chamber of Commerce of Central Texas, Fort Hood and Killeen LULAC, and Sociedad Cultural Hispanoamericana, which translates in English to the Hispanic Cultural Society.
"If we understand each other then we'll be more accepting," Nelson Santiago said, the president of Sociedad Cultural Hispanoamericana.
"There's a bigger, wider interest for people to have that approachability to say 'Let me learn about you, your culture, your customs.' It's amazing," Ana Luisa Carrillo Tapia said, the district director LULAC District 17.
For a city the size of about 150,000 people, Segarra said it's impressive how diverse Killeen is. He attributes a lot of that to people who serve in the military.
"Here locally a lot of people, especially of Hispanic origin, get out of the service here and call Killeen home. So I think that for our community it's helped us grow," Segarra said.
Being Hispanic himself, born in Puerto Rico and raised in Chicago, Segarra said it's an honor to serve and represent such a diverse city.
"People when they come here they're engaging themselves, they're helping out the community, they're improving our economic development and the quality of living so we want to show our appreciation to that," Segarra said.