Hispanic Heritage Month
Hispanic Heritage Month was originally observed as Hispanic Heritage Week in 1968 under President Johnson. In 1987, Representative Torres of California submitted H.R. 3182, a bill to expand the week into a month-long celebration. He explained that supporters of the bill “want the American people to learn of our heritage. We want the public to know that we share a legacy with the rest of the country, a legacy that includes artists, writers, Olympic champions, and leaders in business, government, cinema, and science.” The bill died but a similar one was introduced shortly after by Senator Simon of Illinois and passed. In 1988, the bill was signed into law under President Reagan and it was expanded to a month-long period. Since then, Hispanic Heritage Month has been observed from September 15 to October 15.
The purpose of the month is to celebrate and highlight the contribution that over 60 million Hispanic Americans have made to the United States. The celebration begins on September 15th because this date serves as Independence Day for Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. During the month-long period, Mexico, Chile and Belize also celebrate their independence days and Día del Respeto a la Diversidad Cultural also falls within this time period.
The University of Florida hosts the largest student-run Hispanic Heritage Month celebration in the country. Check out their page for more information on the organization.