How Hispanic Heritage Month Became a Thing

At Salud America!, we’re excited to discuss Latino health during Hispanic Heritage Month!

This annual U.S. observance, from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, celebrates the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.

How Did Hispanic Heritage Month Start?

U.S. Congressmen Edward R. Roybal of Los Angeles and Henry B. Gonzales were among those who introduced legislation on the topic in 1968.

hispanic heritage month week proclamation from LBJ
President Johnson’s Proclamation 3869, National Hispanic Heritage Week, 1968. (Records of the U.S. House of Representatives, National Archives)

President Lyndon Johnson implemented the observance as Hispanic Heritage Week that year.

U.S. Rep. Esteban E. Torres of Pico Rivera proposed the observance be expanded to cover its current 30-day period. President Ronald Reagan implemented the expansion to Hispanic Heritage Month.

It was enacted into law on August 17, 1988.

Learn more at the National Archives.

PBS offers lots of great multimedia content on Hispanic Heritage Month. The U.S. government also runs a website on Hispanic Heritage Month.

Why Is the Date of Hispanic Heritage Month Important?

Sept. 15 is significant because it is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua, according to the U.S. Library of Congress.

In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on Sept. 16 and Sept. 18.

Also, Columbus Day or Día de la Raza, which is Oct. 12, falls within this 30 day period.

What is Salud America! Doing to Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month?

Salud America! is developing daily content on Latino health equity.

Promoting action to slow the spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 continues to disproportionately impact Latinos.

Overview 3: Juntos We Can Stop Covid-19 campaign coronavirusThat’s why Salud America! at UT Health San Antonio launched the “Juntos, We Can Stop COVID-19” digital communication campaign to help Latino families and workers take action to slow the spread of coronavirus.

The #JuntosStopCovid campaign features culturally relevant fact sheets, infographics, and video role model stories to encourage Latinos to change their public health behaviors.

Share the campaign with your friends, family, and colleagues!

Podcasts. Our Salud Talks podcast will feature issues on Latino health. Listeners will hear from health equity experts—from grassroots movements to national organizations—on topics ranging from cultural representation, climate change, childhood trauma, mental health, and more

Episodes of “Salud Talks” are released once a month. They are available wherever fine podcasts are downloaded, including Apple PodcastsSpotify, and SoundCloud.

Tweetchats. We also are organizing #SaludTues tweetchats. These hour-long discussions on Twitter about a variety of Latino health equity topics.

See the full #SaludTues Tweetchat schedule.

What Can You Do to Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month?

Why not speak up against racism and discrimination?

Decades of unfair social, economic, and political systems have created inequitable communities that are disproportionately impacted by injury, disease, and premature death.

These unfair systems aren’t random. They are rooted in racism.

Systemic racism makes it harder for Latinos and other people of color to get healthcare, housing, transportation, education, employment, healthy food, safe treatment by police, and more.

Download the free Salud America!Get Your City to Declare Racism a Public Health Crisis Action Pack“!

The Action Pack will help you gain feedback from local social justice groups and advocates of color. It will also help you start a conversation with city leaders for a resolution to declare racism a public health issue along with a commitment to take action to change policies and practices. It will also help build local support.


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