National Hispanic Heritage Month began on September 15, marking a month of remembrance for events that transpired in the history of Latin America.
The month of remembrance is also known by the name of National Hispanic American Heritage Month and is meant to recognize the achievements and contributions of Hispanic Americans, according to the National Hispanic Heritage Month website.
Another major element of National Hispanic Heritage Month regards the histories of Latinos in the United States, according to NPR. The period gives a chance for people to learn more about Latino histories like the Zoot Suit Riots, segregation of Mexican students, or Chicano-led high school walkouts in the 1960s.
Originally started by former President Lyndon B. Johnson as Hispanic Heritage Week in 1968, it was later expanded to a full month by former president Ronald Regan in 1988, according to the National Hispanic Heritage Month website.
The dates of the month were chosen as such to reflect several significant dates in Latin America.
Sept. 15, the yearly start date for the 30-day period, denotes the anniversaries of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua gaining independence from Spain.
The current year, 2021, is especially significant for many who recognize it because it denotes the bicentennial anniversary of independence for these countries.
Just days later, Mexico celebrates independence on Sept. 16 and Chile celebrates independence on Sept. 18. Belize also celebrates its independence on Sept. 21.
The last major date within the 30-day period is Columbus Day, which is known as Día de la Raza in Latin America.
While there are some disagreements in online and academic communities, the observance has continued to maintain the name National Hispanic Heritage Month, rather than adopting Latino, LatinX or Latine in place of Hispanic.
Along with this idea, there is also historical context regarding the naming of the month. Hispanic as a term was invented in the early 1970s for use in the 1980 census, according to History.
The term was regarded poorly by Latin communities because it erases the blend of cultures that are present in Latin America, according to NPR. Another point of contention was that it was an English translation of the Spanish term Hispano, meaning a person whose culture originates from Spain.
The Kennesaw State Cultural Awareness Resource Center will be hosting multiple events throughout the month in honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month, according to the Cultural Awareness Resource Center website.
These events include panels, craft events, movie showings, and a bonfire prior to the ending of the month. More information can be found on the Cultural Awareness Resource Center website.