Confusion over Hispanic organizations, Munoz: ‘We’re not connected’

Lupe Munoz, right, listens as Mike Andazola welcomes people to the kick-off of 2020 Hispanic Heritage Month in the Gila Valley. - David Bell Photo/Gila Valley Central

SAFFORD — Following a Safford City Council debate over the merits of joining the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, officials with Eastern Arizona Hispanic Heritage Corporation said they’ve been questioned about their organization.

“Periodically, when we ask for a sponsorship or for support, they come out and ask us, ‘Who are you? What do you do? What do you represent?’ ” said Lupe Munoz, secretary-treasurer for Eastern Arizona Hispanic Heritage Corporation.

During the budget review process last month, Safford Mayor Jason Kouts questioned city staff’s proposal to spend $1,500 to join the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

“I just feel like the local Hispanic Heritage stays here,” Kouts said. “I don’t know what the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce is going to do for us at $1,500.”

That exchange seemed to create confusion in the community, said Eastern Arizona Hispanic Heritage Corporation Chairman Michael Andazola, who wanted the community to understand that the two organizations have nothing to do with each other.

“Tucson Hispanic Chamber has nothing to do with what we’re doing here. We’re not connected; we’re totally different,” Munoz said.

The Eastern Arizona Hispanic Heritage Corporation’s mission is “to promote, celebrate, and teach our Hispanic culture to those in and around our community through personal contact, media and events. We present and share its people, history, art, architecture, music, dance and food.”

The Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce states its mission is “to promote the success of Hispanic-owned businesses by facilitating business relationships, economic development and sharing of knowledge for the benefit of the state of Arizona and the growth and success of the members of our chamber.”