September 15 marks the beginning of National Hispanic Heritage Month, a celebration of Hispanic and Latin Americans’ history and culture and an opportunity to recognize the important contributions made by those in the communities. This year’s theme is “Latinos: Driving Prosperity, Power, and Progress in America.” Hispanic Americans are the largest racial or ethnic minority in the United States, constituting 19% of the total population.
The specific start date of this observance carries important historical significance, the countries of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua declared their independence from Spain on the same date in 1821. Several more national independence days are also celebrated during National Hispanic Heritage Month, including Mexico on September 16, Chile on September 18, and Belize on September 21.
The theme of this year’s National Hispanic Heritage Month highlights the substantial positive impact that Hispanic and Latin American communities bring to life in the United States. The Hispanic community is a key force in America’s financial prosperity, contributing 2.8 trillion dollars to the economy in addition to being the number one job creators in the country. The 19 million Hispanic and Latin American essential workers push to keep America running.
The community of Hispanic people in the United States is often reduced to a simplistic and unfair depiction of the multidimensional and diverse array of individuals within. A 2022 report states that current data collection methods critically generalize and misrepresent the vibrant range of Hispanic identities which can lead to studies and policies that negatively impact the community.
The nuanced diversity of the Hispanic and Latin American communities is a key factor in the meaningful influence they carry. The dynamic range of cultural practices and beliefs within these communities allow for not only a powerful sense of identity and fellowship, but also the ability to illuminate the surrounding world. Hispanic and Latin American culture continues to diversify and brighten American culture through countless avenues including arts and entertainment, food, science and technology, sports, and holiday celebrations.
As the fastest growing segment in the United States, the future is Hispanic. The community’s impact on the country through prosperity, power, and progress is inspiring and deserves celebration beyond just this month. National Hispanic Heritage Month highlights the crucial influence that the Hispanic (meaning Spanish-speaking) and Latin American (meaning from Latin America) populations in this country has, driven by their histories, cultures, and determination.
To help enhance your celebration with content you can use all year long, Green America is pleased to share National Hispanic Heritage Month resources that highlight accomplishments and the justice still needed in society, the economy, and the environment. We do this as a reflection of our vision: “to work for a world where all people have enough, where all communities are healthy and safe, and where the abundance of the Earth is preserved for all the generations to come.”
Together, let’s celebrate and recommit ourselves to acknowledging the important contributions of those around us and building a just, equitable, and inclusive society.
Holiday background and social justice
Video on Latinx Communities and Economic Justice from houselessness nonprofit, Family Promise
Learn about or join the Latinx Chapter of the Moms Clean Air Force—Eco Madres—video in English and Spanish
In person events
Sept 15- Hispanic Heritage Month Opening Ceremony with nonprofit Hispanic Star