Hispanic Heritage Month Time to Celebrate and Share our Culture by ISABELLE MERCADO
Mariachi Agave Azul
“Hispanic Heritage Month is a key part of my fiber, of my own being. It represents the opportunity to share this heritage with other beings that have nothing to do with it, so it is vitally important for others to understand who I am,” says Felix Rivera, Anchorage Assembly Chairman.
Every year since 1988, the United States celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15th with the aim of recognizing the history, traditions, culture and contributions to the progress that the Hispanic community brings to the country. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2019 there were just over 60 million Hispanics in the country, or 18.5 percent of the population.
In addition, Georgina Broek, a member of the Latino Student Union at the University of Alaska Anchorage, tells Sol de Medianoche “Hispanic Heritage Month is an opportunity to celebrate and commemorate our traditions and also share our culture with others and educate the public about what it means to be Latino, especially in the United States."
This year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, celebrations will not take place in large masses, but many will celebrate at home. “I hope to celebrate my Hispanic heritage by sharing it with my husband and his family, since they are Americans. Although we can’t meet with many people in the community, in our case we will learn how to cook traditional dishes from my Mexico, such as pozole or mole. We will share with the rest of his family,” added Georgina Broek, who is also a violinist and vocalist for the Mariachi Agave Azul.
Hispanic Heritage Month is an opportunity to bring the Latino community closer and revalue its culture, including its music. By the way, Broek shares “I’d love to meet with the rest of the band to play together. There is nothing that gives me more joy than playing all those songs that we rarely listen live and that transport me to the place where I was born, mariachi music is the DNA of Mexican culture that is passed from generation to generation no matter where you are.”
Ephemeris of Hispanic Heritage Month The commemoration started in 1968, when then U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson proclaimed National Hispanic Heritage Week and by 1988 the celebrations were expanded to last an entire month with the approval of Congress Public Law 100-402s. Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated during the celebrations of independence of many Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Chile. It also includes Indigenous People’s Day, celebrated on October 12th.
Since then, people of Latin American origin that have had an impact on American society are recognized, including Nydia Velázquez, the first Puerto Rican woman to be part of Congress and then the first Hispanic woman to preside over a permanent committee (House Small Business Committee.)
In sports, in baseball during 2018, Hispanics held nearly 30 percent of the 877 major league positions, the name Roberto Clemente, the son of a Puerto Rican worker, who became one of the most important baseball players, is recognized in history, and the owner of Los Angeles of Anaheim, Arturo “Art” Moreno, the first Mexican American to own such a large baseball team is recognized.
Ellen Ochoa was the first Latina woman to go into space, and Sophie Cruz, an 8-year-old U.S. citizen girl, who in 2015 gave Pope Francis a letter expressing her fear of having her parents deported. A year later she spoke about immigration issues and her rights as a U.S. citizen in front of the Supreme Court.
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