Hispanic Heritage Month is a celebration of the rich history and culture of the diverse people of Spanish-speaking backgrounds in the United States. The month-long celebration occurs each year in September. It also coincides with national independence days for many countries in Latin America. These are Mexico, Colombia, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, Panama, El Salvador, and Chile.
In the United States, there are over 60 million people with ancestry from Latin America. Approximately 2.4 million live in Arizona, 3.9 million live in New York, and the rest are scattered throughout the rest of the country. Most of the population is Mexican, with a small number of Puerto Ricans and Guatemalans. When the Pew Research Center surveyed the Hispanic and Latino populations in the U.S. in 2021, those from Mexican origin accounted for nearly 60% of the total.
In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, universities around Pittsburgh will host special events, exhibits, and activities. In particular, the University of Pittsburgh will offer a Latinx and Hispanic Heritage Artifact Showcase. Students will be invited to share their own personal artifacts, writing, songs, and experiences. This will be displayed on the university’s social media channels, and submissions are still being accepted until October 23.
For those who would like to participate in the Latinx and Hispanic Heritage Artifact showcase, submit your artifact or writing by the deadline. You may also share a picture, video, or poem that illustrates your own experience or that of a family member or friend. Submissions will be reviewed by a committee that includes representatives from across campus. A collaborative calendar of events will be developed by the committee.
Hispanics are the largest ethnic minority group in the U.S. and are the second fastest-growing ethnic group after Asians. During the 1960s, the civil rights movement and multicultural awareness increased the focus on the contributions of the Hispanic community. Through the years, the Latinx community has influenced the nation in many ways. Whether it is through the economy, politics, or culture, the contributions of the Latinx community have been a crucial part of American life.
In addition to the university, community groups will be hosting screenings of films and performances showcasing the diversity of the Latino community. Some of the events are hosted by the Latin American and Caribbean Studies (LACSA) group, the University of Pittsburgh’s Faculty Student Association, and the Student Union’s United Nationalities in Transcending Ideologies (UNITI) Cultural Center. All of the events are free and open to the public.
For those who are interested in celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month in a more formal setting, the National Museum of the American Latino will be holding a program that includes a dance party, a concert, and a gallery opening. There will be an opportunity for the public to purchase tickets to the event and the proceeds will benefit the programming at the LACC.
As the nation’s largest minority group, the Hispanic community has played a major role in the history, culture, and economy of the United States. With an estimated 18% of the country’s population being Hispanic, it’s important to acknowledge their contribution to the country and its culture.