September 15th marks the first day of National Hispanic Heritage Month! Hispanic Heritage Month began as a mere week in 1968 when Congressman George E. Brown of East Los Angeles, California, proposed the celebration to honor the cultural impact Latinos had on America. After being passed by Congress in September of 1968, President Lyndon B. Johnson announced the first Hispanic Heritage Week. Almost 20 years later, in 1987, Congressman Esteban E. Torres of California pushed for the week to extend to a month in order to have adequate time for celebration and activities. In the following year, President Ronald Reagan signed Hispanic Heritage Month into law.
September as Hispanic Heritage Month was not a random decision, as September is a prideful month for independence in many Latin American countries. September 15th marks independence for five Latin American countries; Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Additionally, September 16th is Independence Day for Mexico, while Chile’s Independence Day is September 18th.
In 2019, CWLA released a special double issue of the Child Welfare journal the Intersection of Immigration and Child Welfare, a collaboration with the Center of Immigration and Child Welfare describing the complex needs of immigrant families and children, such as the effect of immigrant enforcement on wellbeing, best practices to support permanency, quantitative studies on abuse and neglect, and information on understanding the uniqueness of the federal shelter and transitional care system. The special double issue also gives statistics on children living in the US with an undocumented parent, unaccompanied children in the US, deported parents, and major states that undocumented children and families live in.
During the month of September, CWLA would like to acknowledge the Hispanic children, youth, and families involved in the child welfare system. According to the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS), 20 percent of youth affected by the foster care system were Hispanic. Additionally, 13,494 Hispanic youth were adopted in 2019, making up 20% of all children adopted in 2019.
At a time that possesses historical, cultural, and societal significance, National Hispanic Heritage Month is a time for all people to celebrate! The Hispanic cultural influence that has impacted this country is shared from the music we dance to, the food we eat, and the people we meet. Let us all take this month to celebrate the incredible culture that has derived from Hispanic Heritage!
- For blogs, videos, and online exhibits about Hispanic Heritage Month, you can visit: https://www.archives.gov/news/topics/hispanic-heritage-month
- For traditional recipes from different Hispanic countries to try this month, you can visit: https://growingupbilingual.com/10-recipes-to-celebrate-hispanic-heritage-month/
- Search “Hispanic Heritage Month events near me” to find events in your area to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month!