National Hispanic Heritage Month is the period from September 15 to October 15 in the United States, when people recognize the contributions of Hispanic and Latino Americans to the United States and celebrate the group's heritage and culture.
National Hispanic Heritage Month had its origins in 1968 when Congress authorized and requested President Lyndon Johnson to issue an annual proclamation designating the week including September 15 and 16 as National Hispanic Heritage Week. By directing that this week should include September 15 and 16, this law celebrated Hispanic Americans and the anniversaries of independence for the Latin American countries of Costa Rico, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua as well as Mexico’s independence on September 16.
President Lyndon Johnson approved Hispanic Heritage Week, and Presidents Nixon, Ford, Carter and Reagan issued a series of annual proclamations between 1969 and 1988. Reagan expanded its length to cover a 30-day period, and Hispanic Heritage Month was enacted into law on August 17, 1988. Mexico celebrated the bicentennial of its independence in 2010.
Hispanics have had a profound and positive influence on our country through their strong commitment to family, faith, hard work, and service. They have enhanced and shaped our national character with centuries-old traditions that reflect the multiethnic and multicultural customs of their community.
Contributions by Hispanic Americans are evident in every sector of society, as noted this month on AARP.org; through a series of exhibits and events at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC; and a month of television documentaries and specials on PBS, including the Hispanic Heritage Awards, Sept., 29, 2014 at 10pm. Local celebrations include the upcoming Hispanic Heritage Festival in the City of Inglewood, September 20, from 11am to 4pm.There is much to learn and appreciate about Hispanic heritage and no better time to learn than during Hispanic History Month.