Fresno raises Mexico’s flag at City Hall, celebrates immigrants’ contributions to the region

Mexico declared its independence from Spain on Sept. 16, 1810, and established diplomatic relations with the United States 200 years years ago.

The close relationship between the two nations was highlighted Friday at Fresno City Hall, where Mexico’s green, white and red flag was hoisted up one of the three flagpoles along P Street in front of the building in recognition of Mexican Independence Day and the contribution of Mexican-Americans to Fresno and the Valley.

“Over 50% of our population is of Hispanic origin,” Fresno City Council Vice President Annalisa Perea told The Fresno Bee. “What this means is that while it is symbolic in nature to raise a flag, it’s really a reminder to the people that their city has their back. … It’s important for us to not only celebrate (the independence anniversary), but also to honor those individuals here in our own city that have contributed to the successes and advances and vibrancy of our city.”

The vast majority of Hispanic or Latino residents in Fresno and Fresno County are of Mexican descent, U.S. Census Bureau data shows.

Consul General Adriana Gonzalez Carillo, who heads the Mexican government’s consulate in north Fresno, spoke at the ceremony of the importance of the relationship between the U.S. and Mexico.

“Raising the flag of Mexico is a symbol of the friendship between our countries, Mexico and the U.S., on the 200th anniversary of diplomatic relations,” Gonzalez Carillo said. We honor the shared prosperity that as good neighbors we build every day, and celebrate our binational community of more than 3 million Mexicans and Mexican-Americans that live in Fresno and the Central Valley.”

Mexican consul Adriana González Carrillo dedicated the the Mexican Independence Day ceremony at Fresno City Hall to farmworkers on Sept. 15, 2023.
Mexican consul Adriana González Carrillo dedicated the the Mexican Independence Day ceremony at Fresno City Hall to farmworkers on Sept. 15, 2023.

Gonzalez Carillo and Perea both spoke of the importance of migrant labor from Mexico to the Valley’s economy.

“It is very important that Fresno recognizes Mexico by raising the flag on this national independence day, because this is also the home of many Mexican men and women for many decades who have come to work looking for a dream and managing to collaborate to enhance the city of Fresno and the Central Valley of California,” the consul told The Bee.

“The original communities of Mexico – mainly Oaxaca, Guerrero, Michoacan, Chiapas, which are mainly indigenous communities – are the ones who work in the fields,” Gonzalez Carillo added. “They are the ones who fight every day so that their children can study and in the future they can dedicate themselves to something else that involves less physical effort.”

Perea, who co-sponsored the ceremony with Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer, acknowledged that those farm laborers “may not know we’re honoring them today, but it’s important for everyone else to acknowledge that 98% of those in the fields are Mexicans.”

“Without them, we literally would not have food on our tables,” Perea added. “It’s important now more than ever, in Hispanic Heritage Month, to pause and really honor these individuals. It’s so easy to go about our day and not think about where our food comes from.”

Dyer noted that through the flag-raising ceremony – conducted by an award-winning honor guard from the Autonomous University of Baja California at Ensenada – “we only celebrate the independence of Mexico from Spain, but we are also honoring and valuing every person of Mexican descent.”

“From the farm workers to doctors, teachers, judges, corporate executives and even City Council members, they are difference-makers in our community and we are honored by the celebration they make right here in Fresno,” he added.

Dyer was joined by Perea and City Council members Nelson Esparza, Miguel Arias and Mike Karbassi in presenting a proclamation to Gonzalez Carillo. Certificates were also presented by representatives of state Sen. Anna Caballero, Assembly Member Esmeralda Soria, and Congressman Jim Costa.

The Mexican government has had a consulate in Fresno for 92 years; Gonzalez Carillo has been the consul general in Fresno for four years.

Fresno City Council Vice President Annalisa Perea, far right, glances as Mexican Consul General Adriana Gonzalez Carillo, center, is recognized by, from left, City Councilmembers Mike Karbassi and Nelson Esparza, Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer and Councilmember Miguel Arias, partially obscured, during the Mexican Independence Day ceremony where the Mexican flag was raised at Fresno City Hall on Sept. 15, 2023.