Hispanic Heritage Month has arrived with festivities taking place throughout the United States. It is the 34th annual anniversary of the celebrated tradition. The month-long recognition starts on Sept. 15 and ends Oct. 15.
Hispanic Heritage Month first began as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson. It wasn’t until 1988 that it was expanded by President Ronald Reagan to cover a 30-day period. The celebration would soon be enacted into law on Aug. 17, 1988.
“The HHM is an opportunity to share and celebrate the values and cultural practices of Hispanic communities in the USA,” Marisol Garrido said, Spanish professor at Eastern Michigan University. “To me, it means an opportunity to gain visibility on campus and across the country, to share with others the important role that Hispanics have played in the development of this country.”
Hispanic Heritage Month might have been in the history books since 1988, but many people who are not of Hispanic and Latin descent may not resonate with nor understand the significance behind the month and what it stands for.
To combat this, Garrido encourages others to take the time to learn about the celebration, Spanish language, and culture.
“As a Spanish professor at EMU, I use the classroom space to encourage students to take charge of their own learning, and use their knowledge of the Spanish language and culture as a gate to their dreams," Garrido said. “I believe that effective education is powerful in combating underrepresentation.”
Garrido hopes more will come to learn that HHM is a time for education, understanding, and appreciation for culture.
Gracie Esquivel, president of EMU’s Latinx Student Association (LSA) at EMU, often takes time to appreciate and reflect on her culture this time of year.
“This time of year I get to reflect on the strengths of my parents, grandparents, and ancestors,” Esquivel said. “I can learn about what they had to go through to get to where we are now and I appreciate that. I understand that the sacrifices they made impacts me to this day. Those sacrifices allowed me to be where I am now.”
Like many organizations on EMU’s campus, the Latinx Student Association highly recognizes Hispanic Heritage Month as a significant time of the year.
“Hispanic Heritage Month for LSA is a pretty big thing. We host multiple events during the month to educate others on our culture through fun activities," Esquivel said. "We hosted our annual Hispanic Heritage Month celebration on Sept. 18. Next, we have our annual Latin Night on Oct. 4, plus tons of other festivities and things to come.”