PATERSON, N.J. (PIX11) – When Hispanic Heritage Month meets Mexican Independence Day, the pride in Paterson’s Mexican community takes center stage.

“Paterson is a better place because Mexicans call our city home,” said Mayor Andre Sayegh.

Paterson kicked off Hispanic Heritage Month by honoring Mexico, its people and its culture, topping it off with a ceremonial raising of the Mexican flag.

“We’re proud,” said Paterson business owner Alberto Alvarez. “It’s very important for us.”

It wasn’t long after the city raised its Mexican flag that others decided to join in and show their pride by raising their own Mexican flag; Rafael Gonzalez and Adriana Garcia are riding around the city with the flag waving out of the car’s sunroof, letting everyone know the love of their heritage.

“The Mexican community is so big and lovely with everybody. We welcome anybody,” said Garcia. “We don’t care, we’re just open arms to everyone and that’s my biggest pride as a Mexican.”

“I feel happy because coming from so much discrimination, and being out here – the mayor of Paterson acknowledging the Mexican community and the people that are out here working,” said Gonzalez. “You got some vendors out here also, certain restaurants out in the community that are showing support and love for the culture.”

The city will be raising the flags of other Hispanic countries as the month goes on, making sure the city’s 100,000 Latino residents are celebrated.

“Nothing but good, positive vibes from the Mexican people,” said Gonzalez.