Today marks the start of National Hispanic Heritage Month, running from September 15 to October 15. The celebration has its roots dating back to 1968, with the celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Week. The week was first proclaimed by President Lyndon Johnson, with the month long celebration being first proclaimed by President George H. W. Bush in 1989.
Today is particularly significant because it is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua from Spain. The month also includes several significant dates in Hispanic heritage. Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September18, respectively. Further, Columbus Day or Día de la Raza, falls on October 12, within the month-long celebration.
The month serves as a great encouragement to recognize the contributions and influence of Hispanic Americans to the history, culture, and achievements of the United States. In particular, United States Military recognizes the longstanding and remarkable contributions that Hispanics have made in building and defending the nation, dating back to the Civil War.
This month is the perfect time for exploration. For discovery. Read Hispanic American authors, watch television and film from Hispanic American artists (which we are doing). Google "Hispanic and Latinx History you should know" and explore - there are dozens of articles that could provide a great springboard for education.
There's a wealth of information out there to make this month an enriching experience. All you have to do is be willing to learn.
We know the future of the United States is Hispanic growth. Citizens of Hispanic heritage account for nearly 20% of the United States currently. Or 1 in 5 Americans. That number is growing. Half of the population growth in the United States has come from the Hispanic population.
They are America. And it's time we celebrate their contributions to and place in our shared history.