by AMANDA GONZALES & ALEXANDER MORENO
As Hispanic Heritage month begins, students are celebrating with traditions and new events.
According to hispanicheritagemonth.org, Hispanic Heritage Month is a time when the Unites States officially recognizes contributions made by Hispanic and Latino Americans and celebrates their heritage and culture. It begins each year Sept. 15 since it is the anniversary of independence of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Belize, Chile and Mexico also celebrate their independence during this time.
“My dad talks about Hispanic Heritage Month a lot,” said Aliza Elijah, freshman. “We celebrate this month by throwing a party and watching a lot of Hispanic documentaries, like about Cesar Chavez, and how things were before.”
The tradition began as Hispanic Heritage Week in 1968 under President Lyndon B. Johnson. He had worked regularly in Cotulla, TX, with destitute Hispanic students in 1928. The recognition was expanded to a month by President Ronald Reagan in 1988.
Many Hispanic Americans today are identified according to the part of the world they or their ancestors came from. Various television channels, like the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) celebrate this month by broadcasting a lineup of programs and events that examine the history, cultural contributions and fascinating heritage of Hispanic and Latino Americans.
According to hispanicheritagemonth.org, as of 2014, 55 million people, or 17 percent of the U.S. population, are of Hispanic or Latino origin. This is a significant increase from the past decade, when the Hispanic population in 2000 was at 35.3 million, or 13 percent of the total U.S. population.
Hispanic Heritage month will be celebrated in many ways. The Los Angeles Public Library will present a series of events scheduled from today to Oct. 16. According to latinoheritage.la, numerous events are scheduled in the Los Angeles area, like El Grito de Dolores at 5:30 tonight featuring Los Tigres Del Notre at the Los Angeles City Hall, where the Mexican War for independence will be celebrated.
“Many people tend to ignore, or not realize, the importance of Hispanic tradition,” said Enrique Sigala, Spanish teacher. “National Hispanic Heritage Month fulfills the purpose of understanding the plight of Hispanics.”
The month offers opportunities for Hispanic and Latinos to delve into the history of their ancestors, or for those who are not as knowledgeable about Hispanic heritage to learn more about it.
For many Hispanic-Americans, this month is a proud time as they feel the importance of their heritage and culture being recognized throughout America.