Why do we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month?
Every year, from September 15th to October 15th, we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month in the United States. Do you know why? This celebration honors and commemorates American citizens, whose ancestors immigrated from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America. We are truly grateful for the cultural and historical contributions that Hispanics have made and continue to make in this country on a daily basis.
September 15th was chosen as the beginning of the Hispanic Heritage Month because it coincides with the anniversary of the declaration of independence of 5 Latin American countries in 1821: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. And in the following days, 3 more Latin American countries commemorate their own independence: Mexico on the 16th, Chile on the 18th and Belize on September 21st.
During Lyndon Johnson’s presidency in 1968, this observation originally took place for one whole week and hereafter expanded to a month by President Ronald Reagan in 1988, to cover a period of 30 days. It was enacted into law on August 17th, 1988 based on the approval of the Public Law 100-402.
This is important because it is a way to celebrate our roots from the original natives to the Spanish colonizers who came to America. A North American map of the late eighteenth century reveals the Hispanic presence, which spans from the tiny outpost in San Francisco to the Alta California desolate wilderness founded in 1776! It covers from the Texas Spanish Province—with its cowboys—all the way to the San Augustine, Florida fortress. The first permanent European settlement in North America was founded in 1565—forty-two years before the arrival of the Mayflower in Jamestown, Virginia.
In addition, reliving these contributions to society gives us inspiration to make our own cultural and social contributions. Currently, the Hispanic population continues to grow! And part of our work and responsibility is to build and contribute to our community in the country that we live in and where we place our hope for the future!
The Hispanic population in the United States is currently over 54.1 million, and is the second largest ethnic group in the country. Today, Hispanics make up 17% of the population of the United States, up from 5% in 1970!
Happy Hispanic Heritage Month!