At 11 a.m. on a Wednesday, I sit in front of a diverse and amazing group of young men and women in the Latino Club at Front Range Community College. As I listened to their stories and diverse experiences I am reminded that it’s that wonderful time of year again. It’s Hispanic Heritage Month, which is, above all else, a beautiful opportunity to celebrate the many, varied, and invaluable contributions of our Latino and Hispanic Community. At the end of the day, that is exactly what Hispanic Heritage Month is meant to do.
How did Hispanic Heritage month come to be?
That is an excellent question, and the most appropriate answer, of course, is it came to be through the beauty of Latino cultures and leaders. But to be specific, it actually stems from legislation that was sponsored by Rep. Edward Roybal of California and signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1968 as a week-long celebration. Rep. Esteban E. Torres of California sponsored a bill in 1988, which President Ronald Reagan signed, to expand the celebration to 30 days. These 30 days run from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 to commemorate the independence of five Latin American countries.
How do we celebrate?
Now comes the fun part, learning about these many cultures and leaders. Here are some ways to celebrate Hispanic and Latino culture:
- Learn: Nothing is more important that learning about other people’s customs, ways of life, and contributions. So take some time to delve into the lives of Cesar Chavez or Dolores Huerta, or examine the artistic careers of Edward James Olmos or Selena Quintanilla. View the true history of the zoot suit riots of Los Angeles in the 1940s, or the journey of Sonya Sotomayor, the first Latina Supreme Court justice.
- Join the Baile (Dance): Find out where parades and community celebrations are and join in on the baile. Follow this link for a listing of great celebrations taking place in Colorado: http://denver.cbslocal.com/2017/08/29/celebrate-hispanic-heritage-month-denver/. Stay tuned for opportunities from the Latino Club at FRCC.
- Food: Celebrate by experiencing different foods and drinks from different Latino cultures.
A Continued Celebration of History and Culture
Of course, the contributions of the Hispanic population has had on our history cannot be summed up in a month. So while we take this month to shine the spotlight on our Latino friends, neighbors, co-workers, relatives and students, let’s remember to continue to extend our learning and experiences with different cultures throughout the year.