Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month

Puerto Rico. School-pupils and classes. From The U.S. National Archives

Puerto Rico. School-pupils and classes. From The U.S. National Archives

September 15 marks the beginning of National Hispanic Heritage Month. Hispanic Heritage Month encourages the celebration of the accomplishments and contributions of American citizens of Spanish, Mexican, Central/South American, and Caribbean ancestry. When President Lyndon Johnson started the event in 1968, it only lasted one week, but it was expanded to last a full 30 days in 1988 by President Ronald Reagan. A pivotal month for many Latin American countries, the countries of El Salvador, Costa Rica, Honduras, Guatemala, and Nicaragua celebrate their independence on September 15.  Mexico’s independence day follows on September 16, and Chile’s on September 18. [source]

Hispanic heritage is alive and well all around us in Santa Barbara and throughout California, from the street signs you see on a daily basis to Santa Barbara’s Old Spanish Days. The Hispanic population in California is an amazing 38.1%. [source] This is why we encourage students to learn more about the incredible contributions Latinos have made to American culture, history, and society. Below is short list of fun and creative ways to start a month long fiesta.

  • Visit a local mission. There are four missions located within an hour’s drive of the SBCC campus including Santa Barbara (only 3.4 miles away!), Santa Ines, La Purisima, and San Buenaventura.
  • Read a book. The library is currently featuring many excellent books on Cuba. Not interested in Cuba? Ask a librarian for a recommendation.
  • Watch a movie. Here is a list of movies featuring strong Hispanic American/Latino themes.
  • Eat delicious food. Go out to a Latin restaurant or make it at home and enjoy with friends.
  • Learn more. Visit the National Hispanic Heritage Month website to view various art collections, historical guides, and images.

Check out the links below for even more information on Hispanic History Month.

What does Hispanic heritage mean to you? How do you plan on celebrating? Share your thoughts and comments with us.