National Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15th to October 15th) is celebrated in the United States to recognize histories, cultures, and contributions of Americans whose ancestral homelands include Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America.
In 1968, Congressman George E. Brown—representing two California communities with large Latino and Hispanic populations, the San Gabriel Valley and East Los Angeles—introduced a bill with the goal of recognizing the integral roles of these communities. Observation of Hispanic Heritage Week began that same year under President Lyndon B. Johnson and was later expanded to a month-long celebration by President Ronald Reagan. National Hispanic Heritage Month was enacted into law on August 17, 1988. Since 1989, all Presidents have issued a Presidential Proclamation to mark Hispanic Heritage Month.
September 15th has been established as the starting date for Hispanic Heritage Month for many reasons. September 15th is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries El Salvador, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Honduras. The independence days of Mexico and Chile are celebrated soon after, on September 16th and September 18th, respectively.
Hispanic Americans have been integral to the success and prosperity of the United States. Hispanic influences are tightly woven into the fabric of American life—music, food, art, cinema, politics, literature, and so much more. The Hispanic population of the United States totals 62.1 million people (an estimated 18.9% of the total U.S. population), making up the largest ethnic minority in our nation. The state with the largest Hispanic and Latino population overall is California with over 15 million. Contributions made by these communities are immeasurable and continue to leave an indelible mark on U.S. culture.
Resources to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month include:
- National Museum of the American Latino (Smithsonian): https://latino.si.edu/learn/teaching-and-learning-resources/hispanic-heritage-month-resources
- 12 Hispanic Heritage Month Activities for Children:
- Children’s Books To Read During Hispanic Heritage Month:
Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month advances Laurence’s DEAI mission to deepen students’ appreciation for people of all backgrounds and perspectives, while at the same time seeing themselves reflected in the school community and curriculum to foster feelings of inclusion and appreciation. Laurence maintains a steadfast commitment to encouraging students to express and understand their own identities and to learn about the similarities and differences between the varied cultures of their peers and the world around them.