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Latinx Heritage Month: Home

About Latinx Heritage Month

From the WPI DEI Team:

Latinx Heritage Month is a National Holiday that centers and honors the history, culture, influence, achievements, and contributions of U.S. Latinx and Hispanic communities, particularly their contribution to American Society at large. The term “Latinx” refers to people of Latin American origin or descent and is used as a gender-neutral or non-binary alternative to Latino or Latina.

Latinx Heritage Month currently spans from September 15th to October 15th, however, originally it began as a commemorative week when it was first introduced by California Congressman George E. Brown in June 1968. This timing is important because the move came as a part of the Civil Rights Movement in the 60’s. Additionally, “mid-September was chosen because it is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September18, respectively. Also, Día de la Raza, which is October 12, falls within this 30 day period.” 

On September 17, 1968, Congress passed Public Law 90-48, requesting then President Lyndon Johnson, to commemorate September 15 and 16 as National Hispanic Heritage Week. The president issued the first Hispanic Heritage Week presidential proclamation that same day. In 1987 U.S. Rep. Esteban E. Torres of California proposed to expand Hispanic Heritage Week to Hispanic Heritage Month. Torres believed that a 31-day heritage month would provide more time for people to “properly observe and coordinate events and activities to celebrate Hispanic culture and achievement.” In 1989, President George H.W. Bush (who had been a sponsor of the original Hispanic Heritage Week resolution while serving in the House in 1968) became the first president to
declare the 31-day period from September 15 to October 15 as National Hispanic Heritage Month. In the following decades, U.S, presidents have made declarations commemorating Hispanic Heritage Month. In recent years, many communities have shifted from using Hispanic Heritage Month, to using the more inclusive Latinx Heritage Month.

National Hispanic Heritage Month Hispanic Heritage Month
The American Presidency Project

2021 Hispanic Heritage Month Poster by Adriana Castillo

The National Council of Hispanic Employment Program Managers (NCHEPM) chose the theme “Esperanza: A Celebration of Hispanic Heritage and Hope” for their 2021 Hispanic Heritage Month poster contest. The NCHEPM selected two winners for 2021. The poster above is by Ms. Adriana Castillo, Human Rights Activist and Child Developmental Specialist. With her poster, Ms. Castillo stated: 

“Humanity is going through very painful moments caused by the pandemic, but we must remember that after the storm comes the calm. In this portrait, we can appreciate a hand that raises the flags of Hispanics together with people of different ethnicities looking towards a majestic rainbow that represents Hope. “Esperanza!” The thing that characterizes us as Hispanics is that no matter what storms we go through, we always look up and know that life will be dressed in colors like a shiny rainbow in the sky. “The infinity ribbon design was inspired by the theme, Hispanics: Be Proud of Your Past and Embrace the Future. The greatness of America can be measured by the collective contributions of its citizens past and present, and our future will be measured by our ability to uphold and instill unto others our most valuable assets: our shared culture, history, knowledge, and sense of community. As Hispanics, taking pride in the accomplishments and achievements of our mentors and our ancestors brings into focus the endless possibilities available to us today and boosts our capacity for embracing the future. This is our infinite cycle.”

Below is the Spanish language version of Ms. Castillo’s message:

“La humanidad está atravesando por momentos muy dolorosos causados por la pandemia, pero hay que recordar que siempre después de la tempestad, viene la calma. En este afiche podemos apreciar una mano que eleva las banderas de los hispanos junto con personas de diferentes etnias mirando hacia un majestuoso Arco Iris que representa. “La Esperanza!” Algo que nos caracteriza a nosotros los hispanos es que sin importar las tormentas que atravesamos en nuestras vidas siempre miramos hacia arriba y tenemos la confianza que pronto la vida volverá a vestirnos de colores como aquel Arco Iris que brilla en el Cielo.”

Learn more about NCHEPM's themes and posters. 

2021 Hispanic Heritage Month Poster by Eliana De Leon

The National Council of Hispanic Employment Program Managers (NCHEPM) chose the theme “Esperanza: A Celebration of Hispanic Heritage and Hope” for their 2021 Hispanic Heritage Month poster contest. The NCHEPM selected two winners for 2021. The poster above is by Ms. Eliana De León, Hispanic Employment Program Manager at the Environmental Protection Agency. With her poster, Ms. De León stated:

"The 2021 Hispanic Heritage Month theme invites us to celebrate Hispanic Heritage and to reflect on how great our tomorrow can be if we hold onto our resilience and hope. It also encourages us to reflect on all the contributions Hispanics have made in the past and will continue to make in the future.

"By being resilient and holding on to hope, our Hispanic ancestors were successful in achieving their goals and bringing major contributions to our nation. In the poster, the year 2021 is the boundary that leaves behind the challenges that Hispanics had to face – PAST – and also builds on their successes for new generations to continue being resilient and look with optimism towards the – FUTURE –. The larger size of those who came before us (figures in the bottom section of the poster) symbolizes their legacy and our admiration for them. From our very own ancestors, to artists, doctors, authors, teachers, and engineers, among many others, these Hispanic heroes are all looking out towards the future within the poster, in hopes of a better tomorrow. They are a constant reminder that no matter what obstacles we face, we must always keep our eyes on the horizon to keep moving forward, just as they did. The top section of the poster (FUTURE), represents an ascending path to signify the effort needed to fuel our resilience. Though our path may be very different than those that came before us, and though it will not be one straight line, we can overcome anything by holding on to hope (Esperanza). The year 2021 in particular, faces the unique challenge of overcoming the COVID-19 pandemic together, even while at a distance. Through times of volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity, we are all stronger together.”

Learn more about NCHEPM's themes and posters.