Written by Jessica Garduno
Hispanic Heritage Month is an annual celebration of the history and culture of the U.S. Latinx and Hispanic communities. The event, which spans from September 15 – October 15, commemorates how Hispanic individuals and communities influenced and continue to influence and contribute immensely to American society at large.
Hispanic Heritage Month is observed every year from September 15 to October 15. It celebrates Hispanic people who are both in the United States and Hispanic countries. Prior to Hispanic Heritage Month being a full month, it was only a week-long celebration. On 09/17/1968, President Johnson signed Proclamation 3869, officially creating Hispanic Heritage Week. In 1988, Esteban Torres created H.R. 3182, which proposed an extension from a week to an entire month celebrating Hispanic Heritage. Although this bill didn't make it out of the House of Representatives, Illinois Senator Paul Simon picked up the slack and introduced S. 2200 to the Senate, which is a comparable piece of legislation. This amended the original bill that first created Hispanic Heritage Week. Fortunately, this legislation managed to make it to the desk of President Reagan, who signed it on 08/17/1988. And on 09/14/1989, President George H.W. Bush issued Proclamation 6021, making the extension official. Thus, creating Hispanic Heritage Month.
Why Does Hispanic Heritage Month Start on September 15?
To some, it may seem odd that Hispanic Heritage Month begins in the middle of September ends in the middle of October. However, there is good cause for why it starts on this day. Various Latin American countries observe their Independence Date of September 15, which includes El Salvador, Honduras, Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Nicaragua, all of which are located in Central America. When looking at more Northern Hispanic Countries, we see Mexico, which has an Independence Day of September 16. To the South, Chile commemorates its sovereignty on September 18. Lastly, Dia de la Raza, a decolonized alternative to Columbus Day celebrated by Mexico and Chile, occurs on October 12.
Hispanic Heritage Month Theme 2023:
Every year, Hispanic Heritage Month has a theme to represent what is most celebrated during the month. In 2023, the theme is “Todos Somos, Somos Uno: We Are All, We Are One.” This theme acknowledges the differences each group brings to the table whole encouraging communities to stand as “one community, one people, and one vision.” In this theme, the goal is for everyone to unite as one despite differences in skill colors, cultures, points of view, and more.
One (1) in five (5) People in the United States Identifies as Hispanic:
In the most recent US Census, which was completed in 2020, 62.6 million people self-identified as Hispanic. This made up the largest racial-ethnic minority in the United States with 18.9% of the total population, which is much higher than the 13% of the overall population in the United States from prior Censuses being completed.
Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month allows everyone to celebrate the diversity in the United States and across the world. It allows us to tell a story of the diversity in America’s story, which deserves to be celebrated. There are many ways you can share in the month-long celebration:
King County Latinx Affinity Group: a guided in-person tour of the Sea Mar Museum of Chicano/a/Latino/a Culture! Friday, September 30, 2022 at 2:00PM
Seattle Latino Film Festival: The 15th annual Seattle Latino Film Festival will run October 6-14, 2023. The festival will take place at Beacon Cinema and feature North American and Northwest premieres of feature films, short films, and documentaries.
Nepantla Cultural Arts Gallery: arts gallery grounded in Hispanic arts traditions. Located in the White Center neighborhood, the monthly exhibitions focus on marginalized communities and communities of color.
MEXAM Northwest Festival: Uniting the U.S. and Mexico through music, film, visual arts and more, this festival is a celebration of Hispanic culture and art. It runs Sept. 8 – Oct. 15 with a calendar of poetry readings, concerts, dance performances and other entertainment.
Frye Art Museum – Starting Oct. 7: Frye Art Museum will showcase its newest exhibition, Rafael Soldi: Soft Boy. The art builds on the Seattle-based artist’s experience as a queer youth in Perú as well as the construction of masculinity in Latin American society. Other exhibitions at Frye include one from Brazilian artist Clarissa Tossin, who explores the intersections of climate change and global capitalism by repurposing consumerist waste in her investigations of the Amazon rainforest’s exploitation.
You may also want to tune into podcasts:
King County Recovery Conversations "Exploring Hispanic Heritage: Conversations on Recovery, Culture, and Community"
You may want to read amazing books:
Laureate Lupe Mendez's “Why I Am Like Tequila”
Herman Diaz's Pulitzer-winning novel “Trust”
You may want to watch movies, hold a binge party, or watch some comedy:
Gabriel Iglesias AKA “Fluffy”
George Lopez – comedy and the George Lopez show
“Blue Beetle” movie