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Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month

Hispanic Heritage Month officially commences on Sep. 15, consisting of the 30-day celebratory period where the contributions, histories and traditions of Hispanic cultures are nationally recognized.

“I think in general it’s important to prioritize the understanding of any culture,” senior Jasmine Vargas, Vice President of Spanish Honors Society, said. “It helps you get a better understanding of other people and connect more with others, especially in places where your group is a minority.”

Initially established as Hispanic Heritage Week in 1968 under President Lyndon Johnson, the celebration was later expanded to an honorary month with President Ronald Regan’s approval of Public Law 100-402 in 1988. 

“…I believe we should listen to the glorious traditions at work in Hispanic culture — the tradition of caring for your own,” Regan said in his remarks on signing the National Hispanic Heritage Week Proclamation. “Children are the future, and they deserve the best. And that’s why education is such a strong part of Hispanic life and why you’ve been so stout in demanding that your children be given every opportunity to learn.”

In 2022, President Joe Biden spoke about the value and importance of recognizing the national month with Proclamation 10446.

“During National Hispanic Heritage Month, we reaffirm that diversity is one of our country’s greatest strengths,” Biden said in his remarks. “We also acknowledge the Hispanic leaders who have stayed in the struggle for equal justice to ensure that everyone in this Nation can contribute their talents and have the opportunity to thrive.”

Hispanic Heritage Month celebrates the Independence Day of multiple Latin American and Spanish-speaking countries. Roughly 19% of the United States population is of Hispanic descent, making it important that both the Spanish language and Hispanic cultures are recognized in schools. 

“For the classes [at school], I know people mostly look at it as a graduation requirement, but I really think learning a second language is important,” said Vargas. “I think it helps you communicate more with people and it helps you understand people more. Especially because besides English, most of this country speaks Spanish.”

For more than 25 years, the National Council of Hispanic Employment Program Managers has been the nation’s leading advocate for Hispanic representation in the federal government. The NCHEPM cultivates an annual theme that helps guide American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America.

This year’s theme: “Todos Somos, Somos Uno: We Are All, We Are One.”

“Hispanic heritage is American heritage,” 2nd Lt. Tito Sanchez said the Headquarters Support Company executive officer and Headquarters Battalion, U.S. Army South. “Our contributions play an important role in shaping this nation for hundreds of years.”

Nationally recognizing Latino and Hispanic culture sheds light on the valuable advancements made in that community in art, economics, politics and society. Hispanic Heritage Month and other nationally recognized cultural months aim to illustrate America’s progression in identifying its history.

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