September 15 to October 15 is the beautiful month to celebrate the Hispanic and Latinx communities in America.
The History of Hispanic Heritage Month
Hispanic Heritage Month first began as a week back in June 1968, initiated by former California Congressman George E. Brown to recognize how much the Latinx community impacted America during the civil rights movement in the 1960s, and was signed under Lyndon B. Johnson’s presidency. The timing of this celebration is perfect because it kicks it off with countries such as Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua celebrating their independence from Spain on the 15th of September, followed by Mexico on the 16th, Chile on the 18th, and Belize on the 21st. It wasn’t until 1988 when President Reagan expanded the celebration to be a whole month instead of a week, and in 1989, George H.W. Bush signed the bill for it to be officially recognized as a month-long celebration. Which brings us to today, celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month several decades later.
Hispanic Heritage Celebration at UNT
UNT is making sure the Hispanic/Latinx community feels special during this month of celebration. They started it off by having a “Celebration Kick-Off” on Sept. 15 in the Language Building by displaying Hispanic cultures from Mexico, Columbia, and Spain through many artifacts and traditional dancing. Accompanied by a Carnaval at the Library Mall where students were able to see different Hispanic organizations on campus and enjoy Mexican treats. The Multicultural Center hosted a Mental Health Check-in week by welcoming students to come in and participate in activities such as a painting session and open discussions about being part of the Hispanic/Latinx community. The Language Building is also hosting movie events for anyone to watch, this year they have “Rebel Music: Americas,” “Selena Live, the Last Concert,” “Una Noche,” and a film about Barcelona. Lastly, to close out the festivities, the Language Building will host a live cello performance on Friday, Oct. 18, accompanied by a special closing ceremony in the afternoon which is yet to be determined.
Read more about it here.
My Life as a Latina Student
Growing up as a Latina woman was not easy. There were many hardships I struggled with, at home and in school, and people were never satisfied with me. I had to be the perfect straight “A” daughter to my parents and be a role model to my younger siblings when the only thing I wanted to do was fit in with the rest of my fellow peers at school and live the lives my friends lived. Now, 20 years later, I can confidently say I’m living the life that little girl wanted. Ever since moving here away from my family, life has gotten a bit lonesome and as someone who didn’t know much, I was scared. Attending a school with so many diverse students who look like me has allowed me the opportunity to find a community that shares similar cultural values as I do. Through the strong Hispanic/Latinx community here at UNT, I was able to connect with them and bond with them. To the rest of my Hispanic/Latinx community, I encourage you to do the same or at least to talk to other people in your community and find a safe space with them.