YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Thursday, Sept. 15, 2022, was the first day of Hispanic Heritage Month. So, Youngstown’s Hispanic community held an opening ceremony.

The ceremony was held at the OCCHA (Organizacion Civica y Cultural Hispana Americana) building on the south side, which is the center of the area’s Hispanic cultural organization.

It began with a procession of flags of the 21 Hispanic countries, with the loudest applause for the Puerto Rican flag.

In the front row, next to YSU President Jim Tressel, was former Youngstown Law Director Ed Romero, whose parents were Puerto Rican immigrants.

“Youngstown Sheet and Tube needed more people during the Korean War. He was being sent by Youngstown Sheet and Tube to go recruit Puerto Ricans from the sugar cane fields to come to Youngtown,” Romero said.

This is also a big year for OCCHA. It’s celebrating its 50th anniversary, having started on the east side in 1972.