The Comité Patriótico Mexicano (Mexican Patriotic Committee) is a community-based organization that sponsors social, cultural, and educational activities to celebrate the Mexican cultural heritage. The first comités patrióticos (also known as juntas patrióticas), emerged during the late nineteenth century in cities with large Mexican-origin populations in Texas and throughout the Southwest. In cities such as Houston and El Paso, the comités worked closely with the Mexican consulate to promote activities that fostered better relations between Mexico and the United States and a mutual appreciation of the cultures on opposite sides of the border. The comités sponsored the annual local celebrations of fiestas patrias, which were among the most widely attended civic celebrations in communities around the state. The comités also sponsored parades, banquets, and dances that attracted persons of all nationalities and cultures. The comité patriótico played an important social and psychic role, especially in communities where Mexican Americans were a minority of the population. People of Mexican descent, many of them immigrants, keenly felt the pressure to abandon their heritage and assimilate to the dominant culture. Though most struggled to adapt to the social and economic mainstream, they did not want to do so at the expense of their cultural identity. The comité's activities helped Mexican Americans to maintain their cultural ties to the homeland and encouraged them to take pride in their heritage. A Junta Patriótica Mexicana existed in El Paso as early as 1897. Together with the Mexican consulate and the local sociedades mutualistas, the Junta Patriótica organized the annual sixteenth of September festivities, which were celebrated by Tejanos and Anglos alike. In Houston the Comité Patriótico Mexicano, organized during the 1930s, was composed of representatives from the most important social, civic, and political organizations in the Mexican-American community, such as the Sociedad Mutualista Obrera Mexicana, the Sociedad Mutualista Benito Juárez, Council No. 60 of the League of United Latin American Citizens, the Club Cultural Recreativo México Bello, and the Port Houston Lion's Club. As in other cities, the Houston Comité Patriótico Mexicano played an important role in the community-wide celebration of fiestas patrias, which oftentimes included a parade through the downtown area and a variety show at City Coliseum with popular entertainers from all over the Americas.