Every September 15th through October 15th our country celebrates National Hispanic Heritage Month. The EDI Committee wants to recognize and honor all our Latinx and Hispanic staff – from our classroom teachers, to case workers, clinical therapists, doulas, HR and development, and all of those across the agency! THANK YOU for everything you do for our children and families this month, and every month throughout the year. ¡Somos Children’s Home & Aid!
Below, we explore the roots of Hispanic Heritage Month and provide just a few ways we can all acknowledge and honor the many contributions of the Latinx culture in our community.
Our history and why we celebrate:
During the Civil Rights Movement, young Latinx people across the country from California to New York, and Chicago to Texas, began to organize to collectively challenge discriminatory practices, demand equality, and unite their voices against existing political institutions. During the 60s and 70s, several political and social movement groups formed that would gain national attention for the plight of the Latinx and Hispanic people. In California, the Mexican American Youth Organization (MAYO), fought for education reform, and in La Raza Unida in Texas and the Southwest, Mexican Americans sought political influence and formed their own party. Additionally, Puerto Ricans in New York and Chicago established the Young Lords—challenging discriminatory practices that denied the protection of their U.S. citizenship.
As a result, the country began to recognize the diversity of the Latinx voice, the influence and many contributions to our society and culture, and the rapidly growing population throughout the country. In 1968, President Johnson first signed the National Hispanic Heritage Week bill into law, writing he wished to “pay special tribute to the Hispanic tradition,” with the knowledge that “our five Central American neighbors celebrate their Independence Day on the fifteenth of the September and the Republic of Mexico on the sixteenth.” Those five countries include Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua, which all gained their independence from Spain in 1821.
In 1988, Representative Esteban Torres of California submitted a bill to extend the week-long celebration to a full month, which President Ronald Reagan would later sign into law. Representative Torres stated he and other supporters wanted “the American people to learn of our heritage…to know that we share a legacy with the rest of the country, that includes artists, writers, Olympic champions, and leaders in business, government, cinema, and science.”
- The United States has the 2nd largest population of Hispanic people in the world, second only Mexico.
- 27% of U.S. students from pre-K to 12th grade are Hispanic.
- The U.S. Census projects that the Hispanic population in the United States will be 99.8 million in 2050 and 112.2 million by 2060.
Additional resources to better support our Latinx and Hispanic families:
- Visit the National Hispanic and Latino MHTTC (Mental Health Technology Transfer Center).
- Culture is Prevention – Practicing one’s culture promotes well-being. In this series, explore how Latinx and Native people use cultural elements such as community pride, family, spirituality, and resiliency to live safe, happy, and healthy lives.
- NPR Article: Yes, We’re Calling It Hispanic Heritage Month And We Know It Makes Some Of You Cringe