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Today I would like to talk about Hispanic Heritage Month and what this occassion represents. Hispanic influence can be seen in all aspects of American life and culture.
In the 1980’s Arkansas saw a growth in the Hispanic population, which continued well into the 21st century. According to the 2020 census, Arkansas was one of 15 states where the Hispanic population made up more than half of all population growth in the state. Hispanic roots in Arkansas run deep and have become a vital part of our communities around the state.
In 1968, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law a week-long celebration for Hispanic Heritage. He believed that it was important to celebrate the heritage of our American citizens who were of Hispanic descent because it was those who came before them who helped settle our land and built our country into what it is now.
Later in 1988, Hispanic Heritage Week grew into Hispanic Heritage Month after President Ronald Reagan signed it into law.
It is no coincidence that this falls in September as Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua celebrate their independence on September 15. But also, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September 18, respectively.
Hispanic Heritage is American heritage because the American story is about every person who takes responsibility, works hard, and dreams big. When we take the time to honor those who made this American story possible, we can overcome America’s challenges and continue to be a beacon of freedom for the world.
When President Reagan signed into law the month-long celebration, he did so because he believed that the celebration of Hispanic Heritage was an example of how fundamental family is to our country.
He believed that the strength of America’s families translated into the strength of our country. This time of celebration looks into a culture’s strongest qualities, and Hispanic Heritage Month is a time where we can honor a love for family and connect through the stories of those who came before us.