Hispanic Heritage Month

The Origins of Hispanic Heritage Month

Edward Roybal

Hispanic Heritage Month began as Hispanic Heritage Week, established by legislation sponsored by Rep. Edward R. Roybal (D-Los Angeles) and signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson in 1968. The commemorative week was expanded by a bill sponsored by Rep. Esteban E. Torres (D-Pico Rivera) and implemented by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period (September 15 – October 15). It was enacted into law on August 17, 1988, on the approval of Public Law 100-402.

Celia Cruz, Salsa Singer

September 15 was chosen as the starting point for the celebration because it is the anniversary of the independence of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. All declared independence in 1821. In addition, Mexico, Chile, and Belize celebrate their independence days on September 16, September 18, and September 21, respectively.

Portrait of Diego Rivera and Frida (Kahlo) Rivera

Hispanic Heritage Month (HHM) also celebrates the long and significant presence of Hispanic and Latino Americans in North America.  A map of late 18th-century North America shows this presence, from the small outpost of San Francisco founded in Alta California in 1776, through the Spanish province of Texas with its vaqueros (cowboys), to the fortress of St. Augustine, Florida — the first colonial settlement in North America, founded in 1513, ninety-four years before the English landed in Jamestown, Virginia.

Hispanic Heritage Month at Volunteer State Community College

Hispanic Heritage Month activities will commence in October with our program entitled Understanding the Faces of DACA on October 4th.  There will also be a Festival on October 20th featuring Aztec Dances, Latin American Food Tasting, games for kids, and health check-ups.  Moreover, throughout the year the Office of Diversity and Inclusion will sponsor and co-sponsor programming for the Hispanic and Latinx students.  Please visit this site often for programming updates.