Beginning on September 15, and continuing through to October 15, we recognize National Hispanic Heritage Month. During the four weeks, celebrations honor the heritage and contributions made by members of the Hispanic community. President Lyndon Johnson first declared Hispanic Heritage Week in September of 1968. Years later, in 1988, U.S. Rep. Esteban Torres (D-California) introduced legislation to expand Hispanic Heritage Week into a full month. Festivities begin on September 15, marking the anniversary of independence for the Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. With great fanfare, celebrations sweep across Latin America, Central American, and on into Mexico and Chili commemorating each country’s independence from week to week!
As of 2016, the Hispanic population has grown to nearly 57 million people in the United States. Amazingly, Hispanic people contribute to two-thirds of the residents, with that number increasing every day. Furthermore, an estimated 27 million Hispanics were eligible to vote that same year, proving people of Hispanic heritage are a thriving part of society. As the Hispanic population continues to grow in strides, more opportunity presents itself to embrace the rich culture and vast history they provide. From coast to coast, we celebrate Hispanic heritage every day in mainstream society. It’s not only reflecting our cultural differences; it’s adding a different perspective to our lives for us to enjoy.
Hispanic people across the country contribute to society in unprecedented ways. Historically, Alberto Gonzales is credited as being the first Hispanic U.S. Attorney General, while Mel Martinez is considered the first Cuban-American U.S. Senator. Currently, and politically, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, both members of the Hispanic community, are members of the U.S. Senate. Sonia Sotomayor is the first Hispanic to sit as a U.S. Supreme Court Justice. Undeniably, representation from the Hispanic community is found in schools, public office, medical, fashion, as well as every aspect of business.
In addition, pop culture contributions by the Hispanic community flourishes thanks to many talented artists, such as Salma Hayek, George Lopez, Carlos Santana, and Jennifer Lopez. Finally, we need to give credit to the countless tasty Hispanic recipes found across the nation. Hispanic food has increasingly become a part of mainstream Americana. We relish the flavor and spice deeply infused into the traditions. Dishes ranging from tacos and tamales to Cuban sandwiches, nachos, Tres leche cake, family taco night, tequila, and Mojitos, entice us to enjoy the Hispanic heritage, one bite at a time.
HOW TO OBSERVE #HispanicHeritageMonth
Joining local celebrations during National Hispanic Heritage Month is a fantastic way to meet new people. Additionally, you can learn more about the contributions Hispanics have made in areas of politics, business, the arts, sports, fashion, and cuisine, to name a few. Embracing the history and traditions of another culture not only broadens your knowledge, but it also teaches appreciation of other people and their customs.
Use #HispanicHeritageMonth in social media correspondence.
HISPANIC HERITAGE MONTH HISTORY
Originally, President Lyndon Johnson declared Hispanic Heritage Week in 1968. Through later legislation, submitted by U.S. Rep. Esteban Torres (D-California), the week was expanded to National Hispanic Heritage Month under the direction of President Ronald Reagan in 1988.