You may ask what is Hispanic Heritage Month?
It is a month-long United States holiday to celebrate the contributions, cultures, and history of people living in the U.S. with ancestors from Mexico, Spain, Central and South America, and the Caribbean Islands. Beginning in 1968, President Lyndon Johnson instituted a weeklong celebration for the Hispanic and Latin Americans in the U.S., but the holiday was later changed by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to a month-long event. Hispanic Heritage Month (HHM) runs from September 15th to October 15th. This month is full of significant historic events for much of Latin America, such as:
- September 15th is celebrated as Independence Day in Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua,
- September 16th is Independence day for Mexico,
- September 18th is Independence day for Chile, and
- September 21st is Independence day for Belize
Who exactly is celebrated during Hispanic Heritage Month?
This is not exactly a straightforward answer. As the month would suggest, Hispanic Americans are celebrated, along with Latinos in the U.S. You may have heard the terms “Latinos,” “Latinx,” “Hispanic,” or other identifiers and wondered if they are all synonymous. Someone who identifies as Hispanic is someone who has ancestors from a country where the primary language is Spanish. Latinos, or more recently Latinx, have ancestral ties to countries in Latin America. It is worth mentioning that not all countries in Latin America speak Spanish, so not all Latinx folks identify as Hispanic, and vice versa as Spanish is spoken in many countries around the world. In the Spanish language words with endings of ‘o’ are typically assigned masculine and endings of ‘a’ are often feminine. The term Latinx has recently become more popular in the United States as it is a more inclusive term for people with Latin American heritage without having to pick a binary form of the word. This month the SWE Latinos AG will be taking this opportunity to educate and encourage further learning about the lives, cultures, and histories of Hispanic and Latinx folks within SWE through posted content and other resources.
Want to stay in the loop?
On our SWE Latinos Affinity Group Facebook page we will be showcasing the diversity and variety of Hispanic and Latinx folks we have in SWE, specifically within the Latinos AG. We will be giving weekly blog posts about topics surrounding Latinx and Hispanic people in STEM, the community, and how to support them and other Black, Indigenous, and people of color. There will be podcasts featuring some of the AG members with experiences living and working in Latin America. We will also be hosting virtual events open for all SWE members to participate in.
Library of Congress. About National Hispanic Heritage Month. National Hispanic Heritage Month. https://www.hispanicheritagemonth.gov/about/
Lewis, R. (2017, September 15). What is Hispanic Heritage Month. Time. https://time.com/4943371/what-is-hispanic-heritage-month/
Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. What’s the Difference between Hispanic and Latino?. Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/story/whats-the-difference-between-hispanic-and-latino
Noe-Bustamente, L., Mora, L., Lopez, M.H. (2020, August 11). About One-in-Four U.S. Hispanics Have Heard of Latinx, but Just 3% Use It. Pew Research Center. https://www.pewresearch.org/hispanic/2020/08/11/about-one-in-four-u-s-hispanics-have-heard-of-latinx-but-just-3-use-it/
- Podcast: Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month with Past SWE Presidents
- Hispanic Heritage Month: Latina SWEsters, Part 1
- Hispanic Heritage Month: Latina SWEsters, Part 2