Each year from September 15th through October 15th, Americans celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month. The term Hispanic or Latino (or the more recent term Latinx) refers to a person’s culture or origin—regardless of race (1). During this time, we celebrate the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America (2).
A bit of history… Hispanic Heritage Month originally started as a commemorative week when it was first introduced in June of 1968 by California Congressman George E. Brown. The push to recognize the contributions of the Latinx community had gained momentum throughout the 1960s when the civil rights movement was at its peak and there was a growing awareness of the United States’ multicultural identities (2).
President Lyndon B. Johnson first introduced National Hispanic Heritage Week in 1968. Congress expanded it from a week to a month long beginning in 1989, after it was amended into public law in 1988 during Ronald Reagan’s presidency (3).
How can you celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month? Typically, festivals are held and family-friendly celebrations are hosted across the country. Many of these will be virtual now. You can honor these influential Hispanics by learning from their cultures, reading books, and eating food from any of the countries that are being celebrated. PBS is celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month with some films and documentaries, you find the full list here (4).
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