We celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month annually to recognize the achievements and contributions of Hispanic Americans who have inspired others to achieve success. Hispanic Heritage Month started as a weeklong celebration under President Lyndon B. Johnson. In the 1980s, President Ronald Regan expanded it to what we know today as a month-long celebration from September 15 – October 15.
September 15 is significant because it is the anniversary of independence for the Latin American countries of 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 (October 12), falls within this 30-day period.
Did you know there are 62 million Americans with Hispanic or Latino lineage? Recently there have been discussions about the phrasing for how different nationalities and heritages refer to themselves. Below we have highlighted two differences to bring more inclusion to this observance and provide transparency as to why these distinctions matter.
- Hispanic refers to a person who is from, or a descendant of someone who is from, a Spanish-speaking country.
- Latino/a or Latinx refers to a person who is from, or a descendant of someone who is from, a country in Latin America.
Hispanic/Latinx Americans have been integral to the prosperity of the United States. Their contributions to the sciences, arts, civil rights and government have left an indelible mark on U.S. culture and the economy. During this month-long celebration, take some time to learn more about Hispanic/Latinx culture, support local Hispanic/Latinx businesses, tour a museum visit or even learn simple Spanish. Adios!