Sunday, September 15, 2019, in the USA marks the official beginning of the Hispanic Heritage Month here. The event lasts for 30 days and ends October 15. Of course, given the current administrations discriminatory and exclusive practices against both the Hispanics and Muslims allowed entry here, this could very well be among the final observances of this heritage celebration. The current trend could eventually make even the welcoming message on the Statue of Liberty a public lie and therefore obsolete.
I should probably add here that the political statements in the opening paragraph here are my own (well, I do have my spouse, Aaron, who’s feelings are identical). If my opening upset anyone, I apologize. Believe me, you weren’t singled out to be offended intentionally.
Hispanic Heritage Month is observed annually so that all those who are descended from either Spain itself or the countries south of this one have a designated time of the year to reflect on their cultural enrichment of this society and to enjoy their ethnic roots. It also offers an opportunity for educational classroom instructors to share with their students contributions that Hispanics have shared not only with this country but also the entire world.
The Hispanic and Latino or Latina culture crosses many racial and ethnic heritages. For the most part, it consists of a combination of European (Caucasian), African-American and the indigenous people (Native American) of the Caribbean islands and Central and South America. Their cultural heritage is a vibrant one of traits and customs from all of the races, ethnicities and tribes involved.
The designation of Hispanic Heritage Month first came into being in this country as Hispanic Heritage Week through legislation introduced into the House of Representatives of the Congress by Representative Edward Roybal of Los Angeles and signed into law by then-President Lyndon Baines Johnson in 1968. The designated week was expanded by legislation sponsored by Representative Esteban Edward Torres and implemented by then-President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover the 30 days between September 15 and October 15.
Since officially being recognized in 1968, the now 30-day period is dedicated to the general commemoration of the contributions of both the Hispanic and Latino American community and cultures to the entire United States. It is often celebrated with events and festivals in honor of its cuisine, history, fashion and dance and music.
Happy Hispanic Heritage Month!
Author’s Note: As a professional educator, I well appreciate and am aware of the many advantages and benefits of not limiting or restricting the incorporation of Hispanic or Latino achievements into just the one month of observance. The accomplishments of a multitude into our lives is worthy of consistent and constant acknowledgement and reference.