From September 15 to October 15, our nation observes National Hispanic Heritage Month to celebrate the histories and the contributions made by of our ancestors who came from Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. The 30-day period intentionally starts around the anniversaries of independence for many Latin American countries. September 15 marks the independence days of: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Mexico’s independence day is the 16th while Chile’s falls on the 18th, and Belize on the 21st. This observance initially only spanned a week, until President Ronald Reagan in 1988 extended the observance to its current 30-day period, through Public Law 100-402.
National Hispanic Heritage Month is a celebration of Hispanic arts and culture in America, which has had a sizable impact on our nation’s collective identity. Athletes such as Roberto Clemente and Oscar de la Hoya have left lasting impressions on American sports. Hispanic artists such as Luis Fonsi, who’s music video for Despacito is the most-watched video on Youtube, have topped music charts for decades. In film, directors Alejandro G. Iñárritu and Guillermo del Toro have won the Academy Award for Best Picture in 2014 and 2017 for their films Birdman, and The Shape of Water, respectively. Hispanics like Lin-Manuel Miranda have also brought a unique perspective to other domains, such as Broadway musicals. In government, Justice Sonia Sotomayor is the fourth women to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court, while dozens of Hispanics also represent their respective states in Congress.
The influence Hispanics have on our nation will continue to grow. With an estimated population of 57 million, almost a fifth of the total U.S. population is Hispanic. It is this diversity of culture which makes our nation stronger and distinct among other nations. Let us celebrate our diversity together this National Hispanic Heritage Month.
Photo taken at the kick-off event of the Latino Law Students Association