Opinion | The importance of Hispanic Heritage month

Sept. 15th-Oct. 15th calls attention to the importance of Hispanic Heritage month.


Rachel Wagner

Vendors sell food, clothing, jewelry and other goods at the Latino Festival in Iowa City on Saturday, Aug. 28, 2021.

Naomi Rivera Morales, Opinions Contributor

Hispanic Heritage Month has arrived.

Some may have heard of this celebration and know of its purpose for the Hispanic and Latinx communities, and others may have only heard of it in passing.

So, what is Hispanic Heritage Month and why is it celebrated? Which communities are involved?

Hispanic Heritage month is a time to commemorate and acknowledge those who are a part of Hispanic and Latinx communities.

When thinking about Hispanic Heritage Month, it is important to not only celebrate one’s ancestral roots.  It should also be acknowledged that these Hispanic and Latinx communities are here, loud and proud, and are well deserving of time, attention, and respect.

The U.S. Office of Management and Budget outlines that those in Hispanic and Latinx communities to be of Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin regardless of race.

Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated from Sept. 15 to Oct.15. This is the chosen time frame because Sept. 15 marks the declaration of independence for five countries in Central America, including Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Guatemala.

Mexico, Belize, and Chile also declared their independence during the month of September in 1810 and 1981.

Hispanic Heritage Month was made to be weeklong. In 1988, Rep. Esteban E. Torres (D-CA) suggested a longer time frame to allow more time for acknowledgment and respect.

Since then, it was extended to a month to commemorate the communities and those within them who have influenced and have had a positive impact on U.S. society.

Each year, the U.S. President delivers a proclamation covering Hispanic Heritage Month. There is a different theme for what the month will look like with each coming year. This year, there is a focus on building prosperous and healthy communities.

Included with the listed theme is a calendar of events for what the month will look like in greater detail, drawing on the ways in which the U.S. administration has been supporting, and will continue supporting, Hispanic and Latinx communities within the country.

Having learned all of this, you might be wondering how you can contribute and give back to Hispanic and Latinx communities, as well.

Fortunately, there are many ways you can help. You can support local organizations by donating or joining their groups, buying from small businesses, reading and keeping yourself updated on Hispanic and Latinx history and culture, and using your voice to stand up for these communities when they are faced with troubling times.

The University of Iowa host annual events in honor of Latinx/Hispanic Heritage Month. This year includes a free screening and discussion of the film “Mija” at FilmScene at the Chauncy, Sunset Salsa celebration at the Pentacrest, and a networking mixer the Latino Native American Cultural Center, among other events.

As someone of Puerto Rican descent, this month reminds me that I am part of a growing community that runs on pride and determination. I am grateful to be a part of them.

There is much we have done for one another, in support of our roots, and the celebration and acknowledgment of our communities has been long standing, strong and bold.

Columns reflect the opinions of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Editorial Board, The Daily Iowan, or other organizations in which the author may be involved.