The New York Times
National Hispanic Heritage Month began on Sept. 15 and will continue until Oct. 15. The month aims to recognize the accomplishments of renowned Hispanic community members and showcases the history, culture and influence the Latin American community has on the US.
The event became a tradition in 1968, when former President Lyndon B. Johnson was in office, making it 53 years old this year. It was later expanded from one week to 30 days by former President Ronald Reagan and became part of Public Law 100-402 in 1988. Today, National Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated by many Latin American communities in the US and serves to celebrate the community’s successes, roots and Latin nationality.
“During National Hispanic Heritage Month, we recognize that Hispanic heritage is American heritage,” President Joe Biden said in a White House address. “We see it in every aspect of our national life: on our television and movie screens, in the music that moves our feet, and in the foods we enjoy. National Hispanic Heritage Month is an important reminder of how much strength we draw as a nation from our immigrant roots and our values as a nation of immigrants.”
The event has been celebrated in the classroom in the past, but due to Covid-19 and other extenuating circumstances, some teachers are not celebrating the event in the classroom.
“One of the activities that I have done previously is for students to investigate a Hispanic person who has been recognized in the United States either for their work or for an award obtained through the arts, science, politics, music, etc.,” Spanish teacher Roxana Garcia said. “What I hope the students learn is to meet the people who have contributed to the Hispanic heritage through this activity.”
Despite the event not being celebrated on campus, some hispanic students are celebrating and recognizing the event on their own.
“To me, Hispanic Heritage Month means I can learn more about my culture and all the people who are part of it,” junior Clara Cavazos said. “I also think it just feels good to know that the Hispanic culture is valued enough to have a whole month dedicated to its appreciation. I think it’s really cool that Hispanics have made it so far and it gives me a lot of hope for myself too.”
If interested in participating in events that celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month in Austin, click here.