Each year from September 15 to October 15, we take time to recognize the contributions, legacy and influence of Hispanic and Latino Americans to the culture and achievements of the United States.
Hispanic Heritage Month was originally proclaimed in September 1968 – lasting only one week – during the tenure of President Lyndon B. Johnson. Two decades later, the celebration was expanded to an entire month. The dates for the celebration may seem odd starting mid-month – but it’s a nod to the achievements of the past. Annually on September 15, five Latin countries celebrate their independence: Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.
Here in California, this month serves as an important celebration as perhaps no other state has been as heavily influenced and advanced by the Hispanic community.
A more active awareness of Hispanic and Latino cultural achievements began here in California when Los Angeles congressman Edward R. Roybal sponsored legislation making Hispanic Heritage Week a federal law. It became a month-long celebration when President Ronald Reagan signed an updated law in 1988.
Making up more than a third of its population, Orange County has a vibrant Hispanic and Latino community whose contributions can be felt everywhere. In fact, in 1946, it was Orange County civil rights icon Felicitas Mendez who sued the Westminster School District for not enrolling her kids, paving the way for the landmark Brown vs. the Board of Education case.
As communicators and storytellers, our responsibility is to ensure this great community of people is included and celebrated. Please join us in celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month. Our community and profession can only benefit and advance by shaping our communications, our teams, and our lives with the rich and diverse culture of the Hispanic and Latino communities.
Stay tuned for more content related to Hispanic Heritage Month!