Our community offers lots of opportunities to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month

graphic by Brianna Angel-Moreno

By Lily Angel

The celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month started on September 15 and ends on October 15. President Lyndon B. Johnson began the celebration of Hispanic heritage with a nationally recognized week in 1968. This was later lengthened to a month by President Ronald Reagan in 1988.

The celebration became associated with the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960’s where civil rights activist groups from the Hispanic community fought for social and political empowerment.

Californian Congressman Esteban Torres found a week not long enough to celebrate the Hispanic community and their achievements. He proposed a bill to lengthen the celebratory week to a month in 1987. After proposing this bill, it sadly went unnoticed. However, a year later when Illinois Senator Paul Simon put forward the bill again, President Reagan expanded the week into a month.

With the added three weeks, Hispanic Heritage Month celebrates both the Hispanic and Latinx community. It is a celebration of two groups that often overlap. Both terms are regularly used interchangeably, however they represent different groups.

According to Pew Research, being Hispanic refers to having ancestors or coming from a Spanish speaking country. Being Latinx refers to coming from Latin American Countries specifically. The only Hispanic country that is not Latinx is Spain. 

In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, here are some free events to give you more knowledge about the culture.

Pierce College is currently hosting its first annual Chicano/Latino Heritage Month Speaker Series. They have guest speakers from different career backgrounds talk about their works and heritage. The next presentation will take place this Wednesday, October 5 at Pierce College’s Performing Arts Center from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. The speaker will be artist and muralist Robert Vargas who was honored by the L.A. City Council with Robert Vargas Day.

Another place to visit is the Museum of SFV. They will be hosting their first Latino Heritage Day on Saturday, October 8 from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Located in Northridge, the Museum of SFV will be showcasing stunning Latin-American art with free admission.

Another option is to take a day trip to downtown Los Angeles, where you can visit Olvera Street. Los Angeles has dedicated this particular area to celebrate Hispanic culture. Olvera Street is like taking a trip to Mexico or at least early California, with its astounding architecture, music, and vendors. Attend any day of the week and enjoy a fun day listening to music at the plaza, shopping around for beautiful items, and dining on authentic cuisine.

For something closer to home, visit La Raza Unida, our very own club that seeks to bring together the Latinx community and those interested in learning about the culture here at GHC.