Each year, mid-way through the month of September, our country acknowledges Hispanic Americans who have positively influenced and contributed to our nation and society. The national acknowledgement of Hispanic heritage was originally a week-long celebration approved by President Lyndon Johnson in 1968. In 1988, President Ronald Reagan stretched the celebration into a 30-day annual commemorative event. National Hispanic Heritage begins on September 15th, in honor of the day Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua gained their independence in 1821.
This year for Hispanic Heritage Month, participate by educating yourself about Hispanic-Americans who are positively impacting society. Also, take advantage of opportunities to learn more about Hispanic-American cultures. For example, do you know the difference between Hispanic and Latino? Both are words that refer to areas of origin, not race. Hispanic is used to refer to individuals from Spain and Spanish colonies in South and Central America. Latino, on the other hand, refers to people from Latin America.
Another interesting fact is that the Hispanic population of the United States is 52 million, as of July 1, 2011, according to the US Census Bureau. This number makes this population the nation’s largest ethnic minority. – www.prnewswire.com. At 52 million strong and growing, the Latino vote will be a decisive force in the 2012 elections this coming November. Voto Latino is a non-partisan organization dedicated to giving a political voice to the Latino community. Visit their Election Center on their website at www.votolatino.org for more information.
This month, also visit Presente.org website at www.presente.org. Presente.org is a national organization that provides a platform for the Latino community to stand up and speak out. On their website you will find a list of their campaigns that highlights issues the Latino community face. You’ll also find ways you can personally take action as a community ally.
For additional information about Hispanic Heritage Month, visit hispanicheritagemonth.gov/about.