By Joy Dlugosz, Director of University Library
We celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 to October 15) to recognize the achievements and contributions of Hispanic American champions who have inspired others to achieve success. The observation began in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period. It was enacted into law on August 17, 1988. The theme for 2022 is Unidos: Inclusivity for a Stronger Nation.
This celebration starts halfway through September because it is the anniversary of the Cry of Dolores or “Grito de Dolores,” according to Carlos Olave, head of the Hispanic Reading Room at the Library of Congress. This event marked the start of the Mexican War of Independence and resulted in freedom for the New Spain Colony (now Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Honduras and Nicaragua) in 1821.
National Hispanic Heritage Month traditionally honors the culture and contributions of both Latino, Latinx, and Hispanic Americans. The history and accomplishments of these groups in the shaping of the country are celebrated. The month is celebrated in a plethora of ways. As several other celebratory holidays fall during this month — such as the independence days of several Latin American countries — concerts, parades, food fairs, and more are organized throughout. Educational events like art exhibitions take place as well, highlighting important Latino heroes in history. The U.S. government honors the immeasurable contributions of Hispanic Americans to our economy, culture, and society.
Here are some resources to help you celebrate!
- Check out the Virtual Exhibits from the National Museum of the American Latino at the Smithsonian, Washington D.C.
- As an outdoor enthusiast, I want to share with you a link to the National Park Service and interviews of many special Latino people, who share the love of the outdoors and are conservationists for us in the National Park System. Read about the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park and the Conservation Diary of Cristobal Lopez, Cultural Resources Intern; meet Alisa Hernandez, Wildlife Biology Intern.
- The Hispanic Heritage Month website (hosted by the Library of Congress) is a web portal with collaborative projects for you to peruse. Observe details of ‘Frida Kahlo’ silkscreen by Rupert Garcia, 1975; or images photography of Carnaval, San Francisco , California by Carol M. Highsmith, 2012.
Many, many fantastic events during this 30-day period to celebrate Hispanic Heritage! Some are:
- Taco Fiesta! Food speaks to Hispanic Heritage so why not attend Bok on Thursday, September 22 from 6-9. There will be featured dishes from member restaurants of the Association of Mexican Business Owners of Philadelphia.
- Latin /American Book Fair at Love Park on Friday, September 23 from 11-5. This day-long celebration of language, heritage and culture will feature new book launches, storytelling and musical performances.
- Several Events will be held at Esperanza Arts Center – adjacent to our own Esperanza College
- On September 30th the Pennsylvania Ballet will perform solos, duets and an excerpt from Don Quixote with a finale of high energy dance celebrating New Orleans nightlife!
- And on October 7, iConnexiones! will present music from Cuba performed by the Philadelphia community-led ensemble orchestra.
AND while we are at it, we encourage you to read many of the literature available via Warner Library written by Hispanic, Latinx, and Latino writers. Below is just a sampling of the books in the library display:
- The Daughter of Doctor Moreau by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
- Go Tell the Bees that I am Gone by Diana Gabaldon
- Violeta by Isabel Allende
- When We left Cuba by Chanel Cleeton
- Martita, I Remember You by Sandra Cisneros
Sources: National Today. 9/20/22. Hispanic Heritage Month – September 2022; International. https://nationaltoday.com/hispanic-heritage-month/