At CMSS, we believe that cultural and ethnic diversity should be honored and supported. CMSS staff, residents and community members come from all over the world; bringing with them varying beliefs, backgrounds and cultural practices. During Hispanic Heritage Month, we want to take time to acknowledge all the Hispanic members of our community.
The History of Hispanic Heritage Month
The observation of Hispanic Heritage Week began under President Lyndon Johnson in 1968. President Ronald Reagan expanded it in 1988 to cover the 30-day period of September 15 – October 15.
September 15 was chosen as the beginning of Hispanic Heritage Month, because it is the anniversary of independence from Spain for Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Mexican independence is celebrated the following day, on September 16, and Chilean independence on September 18. Hispanic Heritage Month lasts through Día de la Raza on October 12. Día de la Raza celebrates the lives and history of the Latin American countries negatively impacted by European colonization.
As of 2019, the Hispanic population in the U.S. was 60.6 million people, making people of Hispanic origin the nation’s largest ethnic or racial minority.
The Cultural Significance of Hispanic Heritage Month
Hispanic Heritage Month is an important time to recognize the positive impact and cultural contributions that Hispanic Americans have made in the U.S.
Diana Bautisa, Director of Human Resources at CMSS, was born in Chicago, but grew up in Puerto Rico. At 19 she moved back to Chicago, but still visits family on the island every few years. Spending time in Puerto Rico helped her develop pride for her people.
“I’m so proud of the contributions that, not only Puerto Ricans, but Latinx people, have made on society,” Bautista said. “I do the best I can to teach my children about role models they can look up to.”
Bautisa mentioned Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor of the Supreme Court, Jennifer Lopez and Ricky Martin as a few of the Puerto Ricans she and her children admire.
There are countless other Hispanic Americans who have made the U.S. a stronger, better and more culturally rich country to live in. To learn more about this history and participate in celebrations of Hispanic Heritage, visit HispanicHeritageMonth.gov.
On behalf of CMSS, Happy Hispanic Heritage Month!