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Hispanic Heritage Month Starts Today

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National Hispanic Heritage Month | Image by Shutterstock

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Today marks the beginning of Hispanic Heritage Month, which continues through October 15.

In June 1968, Congressman George E. Brown proposed the national celebration of Hispanic heritage with Hispanic Heritage Week, which spotlighted and celebrated the history, contributions, and culture of people in the United States who originated from Spain, Mexico, and Central and South America.

During the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, the importance of recognizing the Hispanic population became more relevant as the community began to grow. At the time, Congressman Brown represented two of the largest Latino communities in the country, the San Gabriel Valley and East Los Angeles.

Hispanic Heritage Week became Hispanic Heritage Month under President Ronald Reagan’s administration. The change was enacted into federal law on August 17, 1988.

It may seem odd that the month-long celebration kicks off in the middle of September, but there is a reason.

El Salvador, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Honduras all celebrate their independence from Spain on September 15. Mexico and Chile celebrate theirs on September 16 and September 18, respectively. Then, there’s Columbus Day, or Indigenous Peoples’ Day, which falls on the second Monday of October, also known as Día de la Raza.

Many local festivities are held during Hispanic Heritage Month, including parades, concerts, and food fairs, all celebrating Latin American history and culture.

Museums, schools, and universities will spotlight Latin American art exhibits, films, and books that can educate the public on influential Latino figures who advanced their culture and civil rights in the United States.

Dallas-Fort Worth will celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month in several ways this year.

The Oak Cliff Coalition for the Arts is hosting Flor, Canto, y Gríto at the Latino Cultural Center on Friday, September 16. Attendees can enjoy music, art, dance, poetry, and more from 5 p.m. until 11:30 p.m.

The Latinidad Festival will be held at the AT&T Performing Arts Center on Saturday, September 17. It will consist of a pop-up market curated by Hecho Con Amor. Local organizations will be there to offer services to the Latino community. The event will also feature live music, workshops, and arts and crafts.

On September 18, the Kimball Art Museum in Fort Worth will honor Hispanic Heritage Month with a guest artist, Karla Garcia, showcasing clay sculptures inspired by Mayan ceramics in the museum’s permanent collection to honor ancient histories and individualized stories from Mexico and Central America.

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