Article Submitted by La’Trena Barrett, Commissioner
Multicultural Social Engagement Partnership (MSEP)
The 2020 Hispanic Heritage Month Theme is:
Hispanics: Be Proud of Your Past, Embrace the Future
Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15, by celebrating the histories, cultures, and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.
The observation started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period starting on September 15 and ending on October 15. It was enacted into law on August 17, 1988, on the approval of Public Law 100-402.
The day of September 15 is significant because it is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September 18, respectively. Also, Columbus Day or Día de la Raza, which is October 12, falls within this 30 day period.
To learn more, view each Presidential Proclamation:
- Lyndon B. Johnson’s Inaugural Proclamation Proclamation No. 3869-September 17, 1968
- Ronald Reagan’s last Proclamation for National Hispanic Heritage Week Proclamation 5859-Sep. 13, 1988
- George H.W. Bush’s first Proclamation about National Hispanic Heritage Month Proclamation 6021-September 14, 1989
Did You Know?
- 60.6 million – The Hispanic population of the United States as of July 1, 2019, making people of Hispanic origin the nation’s largest ethnic or racial minority. Hispanics constituted 18.5% of the nation’s total population.
- 12 – The number of states with a population of 1 million or more Hispanic residents in 2019 — Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Texas.
Notable Hispanic and Latino Americans
Sonia Sotomayor, Celia Cruz, Lin-Manuel Miranda, César Chávez, Sylvia Rivera, Emma Gonzálex, Olga E. Custodio, Macario García, C. David Molina, Rita Moreno, Julia Alvarez, Roberto Clemente, Alfonso Cuarón, Dr. Ellen Ochoa, Laurie Hernandez, Jaime Escalante, Frida Kahlo, Gloria Estefan
The Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution, and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum join in paying tribute to the generations of Hispanic Americans who have positively influenced and enriched our nation and society.
Visit the Smithsonian Latino Center to learn more about:
- Celebrating Influential Latinos in American History
- Building A National Latino Gallery
- Latino History is American History
Learn more about the Multicultural Social Engagement Partnership.