How Hispanic Heritage Month Became a Thing

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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 this observance 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.

Why is the date of this observance 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 this observance?

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

We also started a new health equity podcast!

Podcast laptopThe “Salud Talks” podcast is now live. Each week, 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 every Wednesday morning and are available wherever fine podcasts are downloaded, including Apple PodcastsSpotify, and SoundCloud.

Salud America! also is organizing #SaludTues tweetchats, hour-long discussions on Twitter about a variety of Latino health equity topics.

See the full #SaludTues Tweetchat schedule.

Who else is joining in?

The American Heart Association is developing content on Latino health issues, too.

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

The Latin Times has a great write-up on eight surprising facts about U.S. Latinos.

By The Numbers By The Numbers

50

percent

of big U.S cities have a local board of health

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