Hispanic Heritage Month

Background

Hispanic Heritage Month recognizes and celebrates the contributions Americans tracing their roots to Spain, Mexico, Central America, South American and the Spanish-speaking nations of the Caribbean have made to American society and culture. The observance was born in 1968 when Congress authorized the president to issue an annual proclamation designating National Hispanic Heritage Week. Just two decades later, lawmakers expanded it to a month-long celebration, stretching from September 15 to October 15.

Always starts on September 15, a historically significant day that marks the anniversary of independence of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. The designated period is also a nod to those from Mexico and Chile, which celebrate their independence on Sept. 16 and Sept. 18, respectively.

Hispanic refers to a person who is from, or a descendant of someone who is from, a Spanish-speaking country.

Latino/a or Latinx refers to a person who is from, or a descendant of someone who is from, a country in Latin America.

From The American Presidency Project: Proclamation 9927—National Hispanic Heritage Month, 2019: “National Hispanic Heritage Month celebrates the accomplishments of Hispanic Americans, who have enriched our culture and society and helped make America into the incredible country it is today. Hispanic-American men and women embody the American values of devotion to faith and family, hard work, and patriotism through their countless contributions as leaders, innovators, entrepreneurs, and members of our Armed Forces.”

Fun Facts About Hispanic Heritage Month

Before getting into ideas for celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month, some quick and fun facts about it. 

  1. Latinos are the largest ethnic minority (57.5 million) in the U.S.
  2. Hispanics are changing the way Americans eat
  3. 40 million U.S. residents aged 5 and older speak Spanish at home. 
  4. Spanish-speaking people are more positive (according to researchers.)

Some ways to celebrate the Hispanic Heritage Month

  1. Learn about Hispanic artists, something local from Sept 15- Oct 15 the Centro Cultural Mexicano in Redmond is hosting an art expo to celebrate the Hispanic Heritage Month.
  2. Hold a Hispanic film fest with your family, find our recommendation list below.
  3. Learn about Latin America’s history.
  4. Listen to Latin American music:
    • Merengue, bachata, tango, Latin pop, Latin urban, salsa, regional Mexican music, reggae, cumbia, vallenato, samba, bossa nova, among many others.
  5. Read a Hispanic author, the King County Library System staff, curated this list.
  6. Talk to people that you know have Hispanic heritage, get to know them.
  7. 10 Creative Ways to Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month in 2021

Movie Recommendations

  • Underwater Dreams, unrated documentary (2014)  
    • Narrated by Michael Pena, chronicles the story of how the sons of undocumented Mexican immigrants learned how to build underwater robots. And got up against MIT in the process.
  • East side Sushi, PG l Drama (2014)
    • An immigrant single mother disenfranchised by her regular life decides to take a chance working at a Japanese restaurant and realizes her dreams to become a sushi chef to provide a better future to her family.
  • Selena, PG l Biography (1997)
    • The true story of Selena, a Texas-born Tejano singer who rose from cult status to performing at the Astrodome, as well as having chart topping albums on the Latin music charts.
  • Dolores, unrated documentary (2017) 
    • The documentary begins discussing Dolores' life prior to her becoming the activist she is known for being today. Dolores during the 1940s and 50's was living out the typical life of a Chicano for that period. Even at an early age she was disturbed by the world around her and felt unsatisfied with the life that she was living.
  • Spirit Untamed, PG l animated (2021)
    • Lucky Prescott’s life is changed forever when she moves from her home in the city to a small frontier town and befriends a wild mustang named Spirit.