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AT&T, CNN Promote Hispanic Heritage

With the recent dramatic growth of the U.S. Hispanic population, it's not just the largest cities that are seeking help in reaching out to the Latino community.

In Richmond, Va. — where the number of Hispanic residents has grown by 200 percent in recent years — local cable operator AT&T Broadband plans to host its first Latin Fiesta early next month.

AT&T of Richmond will host about 150 people at the invitation-only event, including public officials and leaders of the local Hispanic community. The cable operator will honor local author Dr. Keo Cavalcanti and local news anchor Juan Conde. Resident Commissioner Anibal Acevedo-Vila, Puerto Rico's delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives, will also address the festival.

AT&T Broadband of Richmond spokeswoman Julia Torres Barden acknowledged that Richmond's Hispanic population — now at 3 percent — is "still not huge." But the cable system wants to stay responsive to the emerging community, she said.

"When we saw the recent census figures, we thought this was a good fit," Torres Barden said.

As part of the Latin Festival scheduled for Sept. 8, AT&T Broadband will pre-screen a CNN Newsroom special called Hispanic Power: Beyond the Numbers.

For the past three years, CNN Newsroom has run special programming in honor of Hispanic Heritage month. In past years, it's focused on how Hispanics are portrayed in the media or the accomplishments of Latino Americans, said Turner Learning general manager John Richards.

This year's special focuses on the impact of the growing Hispanic community and will address such issues as bilingual education and whether English should be designated the official U.S. language.

CNN Newsroom airs weekdays at 4:30 a.m. EST. Teachers who register for a public viewing license may tape the program and show it to their students. Curriculum guides are posted online each morning, so schools can incorporate timely current events into their lesson plans.

The growth of the Hispanic population is an important issue, but one that's largely been left out of classroom textbooks, Richards said.

CNN Newsroom tries to give teachers a sense of such issues as the diversity of the cultures that share the Spanish language, said Richards. For example, the different Hispanic groups in the U.S. don't necessarily vote along a single party line.

Hispanic Power: Beyond the Numbers
debuts Sept. 17. Additional programming supporting the theme will follow on Mondays throughout the month.