Hispanic Heritage Month takes place September 15 to October 15 every year as a time to recognize and celebrate the many contributions, diverse cultures, and extensive histories of the American Latino community. Beginning in 1968, Hispanic Heritage Month was originally observed as “Hispanic Heritage Week” under President Lyndon Johnson, but it was later extended to a month during President Ronald Reagan’s term in 1988.
Since then, the month has been celebrated nationwide through festivals, art shows, conferences, community gatherings, and much more. The month also celebrates the independence days of several Latin American countries, including: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua on September 15th, Mexico on September 16th, and Chile on September 18th. They also include holidays that recognize Hispanic contributions such as Virgin Islands-Puerto Rico Friendship Day that is celebrated in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
“During National Hispanic Heritage Month, we recognize that Hispanic heritage is American heritage. 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. We benefit from the many contributions of Hispanic scientists working in labs across the country to help us fight COVID-19 and the doctors and the nurses on the front lines caring for people’s health. Our Nation is represented by Hispanic diplomats who share our values in countries all over the world and strengthened by military members and their families who serve and sacrifice for the United States. Our communities are represented by Hispanic elected officials, and our children are taught by Hispanic teachers. Our future will be shaped by Hispanic engineers who are working to develop new technology that will help us grasp our clean energy future and by the skilled union workers who are going to build it.”
Latino educators, scientists, artists, and other professionals help make our communities more resilient & equitable. In a video to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, Secretary Cardona emphasizes that Latino voices, dreams & successes matter now more than ever.
To kick off National Hispanic Heritage Month, the White House hosted a roundtable featuring four Hispanic Cabinet leaders: Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra, Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas, and Administrator of the Small Business Administration Isabel Guzman. They shared about the significance of Latino leadership in key policy areas.
The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Postsecondary Education conducted interviews with two Hispanic education leaders to share their experiences and insights in education:
In this interview, Dr. César Rey Hernández, former Secretary of Education for Puerto Rico, discusses with the U.S. Department of Education his experiences and insights in the fields of education and human rights advocacy, as well as how his Hispanic/Puerto Rican heritage has influenced his worldview and his approach to his work.
In this interview, Ms. Vicky Castro, community leader and member of the Prince William County (VA) Racial and Social Justice Commission, discusses with the U.S. Department of Education her experiences and insights in the fields of social work and education, as well as how her Hispanic/Costa Rican heritage has influenced her worldview and her approach to her work.
Observing Hispanic Heritage Month allows our country to show its recognition and support for the work Latinos are doing in helping this country grow. Along with recognizing the importance of Hispanic Heritage Month, it is equally important to us at the Initiative that we raise awareness on Hispanic Heritage Month resources available from other agencies within the Federal Government. Compiled below is a list of different resources relevant to Hispanic Heritage Month, along with their respective agencies.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Hispanics in the United States: Celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month
- Census Bureau: National Hispanic Heritage Month, 2021
- Census Bureau: Facts for Features: Hispanic Heritage Month 2021 (Spanish)
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month
- Library of Congress: National Hispanic Heritage Month
- NASA: Hispan@s de la NASA
- National Archives: Hispanic Heritage Month
- National Endowment for the Humanities: Hispanic Heritage and History in the United States
- National Institutes of Health: Hispanic Heritage Month
- National Park Service: Hispanic Heritage Month
- National Park Service: Ten ways to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month in national parks
- Patent and Trademark Office: Hispanic Heritage and Inventions
- Smithsonian Institution: Heritage and History Month Events
- Smithsonian Institution: Top 8 Reasons Why and How We Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month
- Smithsonian Latino Center: Hispanic Heritage Month Resources
- Social Security Administration: Celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Minority Health: Hispanic Heritage Month
- U.S. Department of the Interior: Discover Hispanic Heritage at these historic sites
- U.S. Department of Labor: Celebrating the Rise of Hispanic Women Workers
- U.S. Department of Labor: 5 Hispanic Leaders Who Changed Labor History
- U.S. Navy: Hispanic Americans in the U.S. Navy