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Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month

Hispanic Heritage Month is a 30-day period of observation starting September 15 that recognizes the achievements and contributions of Americans whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, Central and South America. The first day of the heritage month aligns with the day Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua gained independence. Meanwhile, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16th and September 18th, respectively. What started as a week-long observance in 1968 under President Lyndon Johnson was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to last through October 15. It’s a time to celebrate the histories, cultures, and contributions Hispanic/Latino(a) people.

According to Pew Research Center, the population of Hispanic people in the United States reached over 62 million in 2020; an increase of 23% over the previous decade. Los Angeles County has the largest Hispanic population in the nation with over 4 million residents. The San Fernando Valley has a population of over 1.8 million, with Hispanic people ranking as the second largest demographic (762,316 by race/ethnicity, according to the VC Star).

The National Council of Hispanic Employment Program Managers declared the national theme for 2022: Unidos: Inclusivity for a Stronger Nation. This year’s theme aims to build stronger, healthier communities through ensuring diverse voices and perspectives are welcomed in decision-making processes.

We honor the lives of the tremendous leaders and activists of the Hispanic community who fought for equality and acceptance. These prominent figures include:

  • Rita Moreno, the First Hispanic woman to win best-supporting actress.
  • Sonia Sotomayor, the First Latina Justice of the Supreme Court.
  • Sylvia Mendez, Civil Rights activist, and defendant of Mendez v. Westminster, the first successful federal case that ended desegregation in California.
  • Roberto Clemente, Afro-Puerto Rican baseball player, and activist.
  • Macario Garcia, the first Mexican American to receive the Medal of Honor for his sacrifices during World War II.

Contributions of those named above and countless others in the Hispanic community have enriched our nation’s economy, agriculture, the arts, athletics, medicine, education and more. Because there are many countries under the umbrella of Hispanic Heritage, the food, dance, art and music, politics and other cultural components are each unique to the individual countries represented. Click here to learn more and check out the other resources included at the bottom of this page.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote a book about her journey to become the first Hispanic and third woman appointed to the Supreme Court.

RESOURCES 

EEO Resources 

Hispanic Organizations

Books for children

  • Where are you from – Jamie Kim
  • I am not your perfect Mexican Daughter – Erika L Sanchez
  • A Birthday Basket for Tia- Par Mora
  • Abuela – Arthur Dorros
  • Paletero Man- Lucky Diaz
  • Carmela Full of Wishes- Matt De la Pena
  • Hispanic Heritage Booklists by Colorín Colorado
  • Scholastic

Books for adults

  • Juliet Takes a Breath – Gabby Rivera
  • Stealing Home – Eric Nusbaum
  • Key Texts for Latin American Sociology by Fernanda Beigel (SAGE Studies in International Sociology)
  • Living Beyond Borders: Growing up Mexican in America by Margarita Longoria
  • Our America: A Hispanic History of the United States by Felipe Fernandez-Armesto
  • The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

Free ebook

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