Hispanic Heritage Month
The observation of Hispanic Heritage Month started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period starting on September 15 and ending on October 15. It was enacted into law on August 17, 1988, on the approval of Public Law 100-402.
The day of September 15 is significant because it is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September 18, respectively.
According to the National Council of Hispanic Employment Program Managers, the theme for 2021 Hispanic Heritage Month is: “Esperanza: A Celebration of Hispanic Heritage and Hope.” The theme invites us to celebrate Hispanic Heritage and to reflect on how great our tomorrow can be if we hold onto our resilience and hope. It encourages us to reflect on all of the contributions Hispanics have made in the past, and will continue to make in the future. It is also a reminder that we are stronger together.
PBS offers a large variety of documentaries, short stories, profiles and films to explore the diverse cultures and experiences of Hispanic and Latino Americans.
- Ellen Ochoa: First Latina to go into space. Ochoa’s first mission into space was on Discovery in 1993. Since then, she has logged almost 1,00 hours in orbit. In 2013, she became the 11th director of NASA’s Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, becoming the first Latin American an only the 2nd woman to hold that title
- Marta Vieira da Silva: 6 time FIFA player of the year. Vieira da Silva, who plays for the Orlando Pride, holds the record for all time World Cup goals in both men’s and women’s competitions. She is also the first soccer player, male or female, to score goals in five World Cup tournaments.
- Oswaldo Guayasamín Calero: Ecuadorian master painter and sculptor. He has been recognized by UNESCO for “an entire life of work for peace”. His art revolved around giving a voice to the voiceless and focused on Indigenous, black and mestizo populations in America.
- René Geronimo Favaloro: Cardiac surgeon and educator. Born in Argentina I 1923, Favaloro is credited with the first document coronary bypass operation.
- Gabriel García Márquez: Colombian novelist. He earned the 1982 Nobel Prize for literature. During his life, he wrote more than 25 books.
Ways to Recognize Hispanic Heritage Month
- Enjoy a classic Latin American dish – Try a Venezuelan arepa, or a warm chewy filled pupusa from El Salvador. Other traditional dishes include Peruvian lime-cured ceviche or Spanish seafood paella
- Support a Hispanic or Latino owned business
- Learn a traditional dance such as: Mambo, Rumba, or Flamenco.
- Visit a museum featuring Hispanic and Latino art
- Read books by Hispanic and Latinx authors to better understand the culture