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Hispanic Heritage Month

Did you know Hispanic Heritage Month starts on September 15th and not at the beginning of the month? And why does Hispanic Heritage Month run from September 15th through October 15th?

Before I answer those questions, let’s take time to appreciate Hispanic Heritage Month and the important contributions Latinx/Latinos/Latinas/Hispanics have made to shape the United States of America (U.S.). For this topic, I will use the following terms Latinx/Latinos/Latinas/Hispanics; however, many individuals will use their own identifiers based on their history, race, ethnicity, cultural, and racial backgrounds. As of July 2019, the U.S. Census reported 60 million Latinx/Latinos/Latinas/Hispanics live in the U.S. reflecting 18.5% of the U.S. population (U.S. Census, 2020). This number is a conservative measure and often underreported due to many factors, for example, immigration status, public charge, mistrust of the government, and mixed status families. Barriers continue to impact our Latinx/Latino/Latina/Hispanic communities, including an estimated 12 million undocumented individuals living in the U.S.

Hispanic Heritage Month is a time to recognize and celebrate Latinx/Latinos/Latinas/Hispanics and the courage to change the landscape and course of the U.S. and the world. Many names come to my mind such as Cesar Chavez, Ellen Ochoa, Sonia Sotomayor, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Rita Moreno, and Frida Kahlo. These names only scratch the surface; I encourage everyone to research other Latinx/Latina/Latino/Hispanic inventors, engineers, and physicians that have made a tremendous impact to this nation and the world. Individuals like Luis E. Miramontes, Guillermo González Camarena, Domingo Liotta, and Luis Von Ahn. Please use this month to research and learn more about these great minds!

So back to my original question. Why does Hispanic Heritage Month begin on September 15th and end on October 15th?

The timing is key. Hispanic Heritage Month — like its shorter precursor — always starts on September 15th, a historically significant day that marks the anniversary of independence of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. The designated period is also a nod to those from Mexico and Chile, which celebrate their independence on September 16th and September 18th, respectively (U.S. Census, 2020).

In addition, Hispanic Heritage Month includes Latinx/Latinos/Latinas/Hispanics from South America, Spain, and Spanish-speaking nations of the Caribbean. As an immigrant from Mexico, I understand the importance of recognizing, sharing, and celebrating my history by learning from sheroes and heroes such as Ellen Ochoa and Cesar Chavez. ¡Si Se Puede!