CHICAGO — Friday was the official kickoff of National Hispanic Heritage Month.

Multiple festivities for Mexican Independence Day should make for an exciting weekend across the Chicago area.

In Pilsen, the Mexican Cultural Committee of Chicago and Benito Juarez Community Academy collaborated for the El Grito Celebration from 4 to 10 p.m. 

El Grito, also known as the Cry of Victory, is a tradition the night before Mexican Independence Day. Friday’s celebration at the high school will include Mexican folkloric dance and music by students and community members. 

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Sofia Fierro is a part of the Mexican Cultural Committee. 

“One of the greatest things about being here at Plaza de los Heroes is that we have the statues that represent our Mexican community and we are also able to give a little bit back to the community where that can have a place where they can celebrate independence,” Fierro said.

Along with festivities at the high school, as in years past, many are expected to celebrate by peacefully driving throughout the city, proudly representing Mexican ancestry with large flags draped over cars and trucks. City officials ask people participating to celebrate respectfully and to be mindful of first responders and emergency vehicles to get through traffic quickly traffic.

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“We’re here to celebrate Viva Mexico,” said Baltazar Enriquez, president of Little Village Community Council. “We have done it before, but again, we have not damaged, looted, or corrupted anything in the city. It is basically just a celebration and that’s what it is going to be. We hope (Mayor Brandon Johnson) understands that we hope that the residents that are affected in the downtown area be patient.”