National Hispanic Heritage Month takes place from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 every year. It all started in 1968, on the anniversary of the independence of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. It started in 1968, when President Lyndon B. Johnson approved Hispanic Heritage Week, but later, President Reagan expanded it to a month. This is a very special time of the year, given the pride Hispanics feel for their identity and the love of shared traits and differences from the world. Being able to share our cultural background is what we love most, and it’s amazing to see how many people are involved with our activities.
For most Latino families, celebrating culture is not difficult. It sure isn’t for Colombians (like me!). Not only is our lifestyle and history kept alive, but it is also the perfect opportunity to learn more about our ancestors. Also, we as a community create a deeper knowledge of the role that Latinos have played in the history of the U.S and the impact we’ve made on other cultures. It has been said that adolescents who grow up informed and proud of their own culture are far more likely to develop healthier behavior than those who don’t. I have seen this firsthand back in my home country, Colombia. Children have been more open to learning about our culture and how big our impact has been in the world, and since then, they have created a united front to protect each other. We have become a family where we are open to every different belief. This is what we celebrate during National Hispanic Heritage Month.
Everyone should see the history of our community. Everything is connected as one, and the more we are informed about our past, the more open-minded we can be in the future. I encourage everyone to learn about my people and my community, go to events and ask questions. We are always open to talking about ourselves and how strong we are and how we have overcome difficult obstacles in our life to become what we are today. They motivate us to start thinking about the future and how we can contribute to the world. Viva la raza Hispana!
Photo Source: B. Ostrower
Written by: Valeria Ravachi