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Three Things to Know … Hispanic Heritage Month

Hispanic Heritage Month celebrates the contributions of Hispanic Americans in all different aspects of American life. Here are three things you should know about Hispanic Heritage Month.

1. It first began as a week.

During the Civil Rights Era, President Lyndon B. Johnson established Hispanic Heritage week to increase attention to the contributions of Hispanic Americans. Later on, in 1987 during Ronald Reagan’s presidency, Hispanic Heritage Week grew to become Hispanic Heritage Month between September 15 and October 15. Its purpose was to adequately provide enough time to celebrate the many contributions and achievements of Hispanics in the US such as Olympians, business leaders, politicians, artists, and many others.

2. It coincides with independence days.

Like the Independence of the United States, the independence of Latin American countries from Spain and Portugal was a momentous point in the development of a unique culture. The day of September 15th is significant because it is the anniversary of independence of a number of Latin American countries, such as Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September 18, respectively. Also, Columbus Day or Día de la Raza, which is October 12, falls within this 30 day period.


3. Hispanics are 18 percent of the US population.


Along with their thriving cultures, Hispanic Americans are a fast growing demographic. According to the US Census Bureau, this demographic includes anyone from a Spanish speaking country of origin or heritage. Between 2000 and 2019, Hispanic Americans were the second fastest growing population after Asian-Americans; Hispanics now represent 18 percent of the total US population. Here are just a few examples of how Hispanic Americans today excel in all aspects of American life: from culture (Lin Manuel Miranda, Jennifer Lopez), politics (Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Marco Rubio), science (Astronaut Elena Ochoa, Nobel Prize chemist Mario Molina), law (Sonia Sotomayor)  to business (HP CEO Enrique Lores, Ingersoll Rand president Vicente Reynal). 


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