Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month


Photo courtesy of ColoradoParent.com 

Hispanic Heritage month encourages Latinx people to join together to celebrate their heritage and culture. 

Niomi Nunez, Features & Lifestyle Editor

If you walk into any department store during the months of September and October, you will most likely see a small display dedicated to Hispanic Heritage Month. This miniscule display will probably consist of two to three books by Latinx authors, and some shirts with the conventional iconology associated with Hispanic culture. There will most likely be a sign with vibrantly colored words that scream “Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month!” at passing customers. Despite its efforts, the display will likely have very little effect on the people that see it because of its lack of context.  

Hispanic Heritage month is an annual event that begins Sept. 15 and ends Oct. 15. The month aims to highlight and celebrate the culture of Latinx and Hispanic identifying persons, similar to the agenda of Black History Month.  

In 1968, the celebratory month was first introduced as a week. Congressman George E. Brown introduced the commemorative event to contribute to the growing awareness of diverse groups during the civil rights movement. According to History.com, “On Sept. 17, 1968, Congress passed Public Law 90-48, officially authorizing and requesting the president to issue annual proclamations during Sept. 15 and 16 to mark the beginning of National Hispanic Heritage Week.” Later, the week was extended to a month by Ronald Reagan.  

The date of Hispanic Heritage Month was intentionally set to start on Sept. 15 because that day marks the independence of several countries in Central America. On Sept. 15, 1821, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua were declared independent from Spain. 

All over the country, events and parades take place, commemorating Hispanic heritage month. More locally, Iona University kicked off the month with Sister Norma Pimentel’s lecture, “Restoring Human Dignity: Lecciones de la Frontera.” Iona is also displaying photos taken by Mexican American portrait artist Carlos Davin in Br. Chapman Gallery, JoAnn Mazella Murphy ’98 Art Center, from Sept. 12 to Oct. 17. On Sept. 26, the university will host Dance Symposium 2022—a dance and music event celebrating Hispanic culture.  More information on these events can be found on Iona University’s website.  

Additionally, there are clubs on campus that focus on expanding the awareness of multicultural groups outside of Hispanic Heritage Month. One club is the Organization for Latinx Students or OLAS. Vice President of OLAS Ashley Nunez says that the club “works on promoting awareness and educating Iona students and faculty about the diverse cultures within Latin America.”  

Nunez is of Mexican descent and feels that there is still room for improvement when it comes to embracing Hispanic culture at Iona.  

“Honestly, I feel although [Iona] is a diverse campus, I would like to see more caring for the Hispanic communities…I think there should be more respect for the Hispanic communities,” Nunez said.  

Outside of the OLAS club Nunez likes to pay homage to her Hispanic heritage in various ways, including singing mariachi songs.  

For non-Hispanic people, Hispanic Heritage Month may mean nothing. However, for Hispanic and Latinx people, the month signifies a celebration of identity and pays tribute to those who have made Hispanic culture what it is today.