Students share culture during Hispanic Heritage Month

Illustration by Olivia Madrzyk | The Signal

Spanning from September 15 to October 15, National Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated by millions of people each year. The United States created this holiday to acknowledge and appreciate the numerous Hispanic and Latinx cultures, as well as their contributions throughout history.

In June of 1968, the holiday was introduced by California Congressman George E. Brown. He was the face and voice of the various Hispanic and Latinx communities in the Los Angeles and San Gabriel Valley areas. 

In September of that year, President Lydon B. Johnson declared September 15th and 16th as Hispanic Heritage Week for the United States. 

The government selected the date of September 15th because Honduras, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua all declared their independence from Spain on that day in 1821. On September 16th of 1810, Mexico declared its independence from Spain as well.

Finally, on September 14, 1989, former President George H.W. Bush declared that the weeks between September 15th and October 15th would be recognized as Hispanic Heritage Month.

Bush is quoted in Proclamation 6021 stating that “Hispanic Americans have enriched our nation beyond measure with the quiet strength of closely-knit families and proud communities.”

With this celebration being right around the corner, many Hispanic and Latino students at Georgia State are excited to enjoy the celebration with their family and friends.

Senior psychology major, Ana Rodriguez, was born and raised in Colombia for various times of her life. Hispanic Heritage Month is an exciting time for her, as she continues to embrace her culture and learn more about others.

“Even though I am no longer in my home country, this holiday is a time to listen to and honor other Latin stories and experiences,” Rodriguez said. “ I wish I knew more about other countries’ language, dialects, and ways they communicate interpersonally.”

Rodriguez encourages her family and friends to explore other Hispanic and Latinx cultures whenever they can.

“My family doesn’t, but I try to eat as many new Hispanic foods in Atlanta [when] I can,” she said. “I also enjoy listening to people’s stories and journeys during this month and every other month.”  

Many view this holiday as a way to tap back into their roots and stay connected to their families back home. For some, celebrating means continuing their family’s traditions. For others, it means creating their own new cultural traditions. 

Nursing major Jazlyn Cardoza grew up in a bi-cultural house. With her mother being Mexican and her father Honduran, she was raised with the best of both worlds. Her family recognizes the importance of this holiday and the rich history behind it. 

“I celebrate with family-friends since the majority of my extended family lives outside of Georgia,” said Cardoza. “We typically host a gathering, and everyone brings a dish from their home country.”

Much like other cultural holidays such as Black History Month, Pride Month and Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month, Hispanic Heritage Month is a time to honor those who have made national contributions and educate those unfamiliar with the holiday.

“This holiday highlights not just the traditions we celebrate in our culture, but the important contributions from notable historical figures that represent us as a community,” said Cardoza.