Hispanic Heritage Month is an annual celebration, from September 15th to October 15th, of the history and culture of the U.S. Latin and Hispanic communities. It commemorates how those communities have influenced and contributed to American society at large. The terms Hispanic, Latino, or Latinx refer to a person’s culture or origin— regardless of race.
First introduced as a commemorative week in June 1968 by California Congressman George E. Brown, the push to recognize the contributions of the Latinx community gained momentum throughout the 1960s when the civil rights movement was at its peak and there was a growing awareness of the United States’ multicultural identities.
On September 17, 1968, Congress passed Public Law 90-48, officially authorizing and requesting the president to issue annual proclamations declaring September 15 and 16 to mark the beginning of National Hispanic Heritage Week and called upon the “people of the United States, especially the educational community, to observe such week with appropriate ceremonies and activities.” President Lyndon B. Johnson issued the first Hispanic Heritage Week presidential proclamation the same day.
Information gathered via History.com
- Hispanic Heritage- History Channel
- Hispanic Heritage Month- History Channel
- The Creation and Evolution of the National Hispanic Heritage Celebration- Us. House of Representatives
- Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute: 2021 Leadership Conference
- 10 great TED Talks by Hispanic and LatinX speakers for Hispanic Heritage Month- TED
If you’re interested in starting or joining an event on campus or in your community, below are some suggestions to help guide your celebration.
Latin American Cuisine
A great way to celebrate the rich diversity of Latin America is through its food. There are several online cooking demos or recipes you can try – from a Venezuelan arepa, a pupusa from El Salvador, mole poblano of Mexico, or a seafood paella from Spain.
- Pepitos – Northern Mexican steak sandiwch (by Rick Martinez)
- Tequenos – Venezuelan crispy fried cheese sticks (by Larisa Alvarez)
- Potaje de Garbanzos – Cuban stew with chorizo, potatoes, and garbanzo beans (by Gabriela Rodiles)
Support a Hispanic or Latin-Owned Business
While restaurants are among the most popular places to garner business during the month, grooming services, clothing stores, auto services, and many other Hispanic-owned businesses can be easily found using many popular search engines. The United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce can help to identify resources or businesses for the month. Consider giving patronage to these businesses or even contact a business owner to see if your chapter can help volunteer locally.
Visit a Museum Highlighting Hispanic or Latinx Culture
Many cities across the U.S. have dedicated museums celebrating the rich culture and history of Latin America. Mi LegaSi has put together a comprehensive list of the many museums you can visit during the month. Be sure to check online to find out if operating hours or COVID protocols have changed for each establishment.
There are many notable Hispanic filmmakers and actors that have created incredible movies and shows in their native language. You can search online for some of the most celebrated Hispanic films of all-time, or come up with your own list. Host a watch party with your chapter or on campus.