It’s Time To Celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month
An important month of history, recognition, and culture is just around the corner as we the people celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month in America on September 15 to October 15. During that period, we will greatly recognize how the Hispanic, Latino American, and Latinx communities have inspired and contributed to American culture as a whole.
When the civil rights movement was at its zenith and there was a rising awareness of the United States’ multicultural identities, the effort to recognize the achievements and contributions of the Latino American population had gained traction. In June 1968, California Congressman George E. Brown introduced a commemorative week known as the Hispanic Heritage Week. Yes, we only had a week at first!
Brown, who represented East Los Angeles and the San Gabriel Valley, both wanted to acknowledge the importance of Hispanic and Latino communities throughout American history. Later that year on September 17, 1968, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law and issued the first Hispanic Heritage Week. The Hispanic Heritage Week was later expanded in 1988 by President Ronald Reagan and officially declared National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 through October 15 by President George H.W. Bush. 31 days, now that’s more like it!
September 15 was selected as the start date for National Hispanic Heritage Month because it is the anniversary of independence for five Hispanic countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. All five of these countries declared independence back in 1821. In addition, Mexico, Chile, and Belize all honor their own independence days on September 16, September 18, and September 21, respectively.
While many of the communal celebrations in 2020 were limited to virtual activities due to the pandemic, there are now more groups expecting to publicly celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month in 2021. Some nice ideas would be to support a Hispanic or Latino-owned business or to visit a museum highlighting Hispanic and Latino culture. For those interested to stay at home, you can listen to Hispanic music, read books written by Hispanic or Latinx authors, or just dance and do the cha-cha. For me I would mostly likely enjoy a classic Latin American dish…like a box of carne asada fries. Just kidding! Mi abuela’s tamales will suffice.