Hundreds gathered at the governor's mansion for a Hispanic Heritage Month celebration Monday night. It was an evening full of music, tradition and pride.
Honoree Luis Nunez couldn't be more excited. "It was an honor to be invited as the feature artist." His paintings are hung around the mansion. His family - exiled from Cuba - moved to America in 1960. "We came here with nothing but the desire to be free, and to be able to express ourselves when we need to," says, Nunez.
"Florida is one of the most diverse states in the country. To celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month along with other months that we celebrate is incredibly important. We should recognize that diversity and celebrate it," says governor Charlie Christ.
Attendees feasted on an array of traditional foods from various Spanish-speaking countries. Governor Christ presented student essay winners with certificates and scholarships.
While Nunez says he misses parts of the old country, he is a proud Cuban-American. "This is my country now. This is it, but you never forget where you come from."
Officials say most Hispanic Floridians trace their heritage back to Cuba, Puerto Rico, or Mexico.