IDEA Public Schools is proud to join our nation in celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 – October 15! This annual celebration honors the history, cultures, and contributions of U.S. Hispanic and Latinx communities to American society, including those whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America.
The celebration dates back to September 1968, when Congress authorized President Lyndon B. Johnson to proclaim National Hispanic Heritage Week to recognize the rich culture and contributions of Hispanic and Latino Americans. Just two decades later, lawmakers expanded the observance to a month-long celebration from September 15 to October 15.
Hispanic Heritage Month–like its shorter precursor–always starts on September 15, a historically significant day that marks the anniversary of independence of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. The designated period is also a nod to Mexico and Chile, which celebrate their independence on September 16 and September 18, respectively.
Today, over 60 million people, or 18.5 percent of the American population, are of Hispanic or Latino origin–a significant increase from the year 2000, which registered the Hispanic population at 35.3 million or 13 percent of the total U.S. population.
Our Mission: Education and Celebration
As an organization that serves a predominantly Hispanic and Latinx student population, we champion this month as an additional opportunity to educate our students about Hispanic and Latinx heritage and celebrate the rich cultural traditions of Hispanic Americans with all students and staff members.
At IDEA Public Schools, we believe that providing all children with a quality education, regardless of their race, ethnicity, economic status or gender, is essential to a more equal America. Our core value – we ensure equity – keeps us rooted in fairness and respect. As the opportunity gap remains starkly wide in our country, the importance of a college degree has never been more important. We remain rooted in our mission to serve our community through education and college preparation, particularly traditionally underserved communities and communities of color.
As an organization that continues to strive to become a strong leader in the broader anti-racist and anti-bias movement, we find it incredibly important for IDEA students to learn about the past and those who are different from them. Cultural heritage months, like Hispanic Heritage Month, allow for sharing, awareness and learning of diverse cultures and create spaces where our students can celebrate who they are and where they come from. These lessons broaden our understanding of history and the beautiful and often complicated stories of resistance and persistence. If we don’t identify with a culture, we build Team & Family through empathy and connection – leading to a better understanding and value of our unique differences.
As we kick off this important time, campuses across our regions are teaching lessons and holding events in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month. Be sure to check out IDEA’s social media channels as we document the amazing happenings taking place across our campuses to educate, celebrate, and reflect upon Hispanic history and heritage.
Read more about the history and celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, find resources for teachers or to celebrate at home and more at hispanicheritagemonth.gov. You can also check out this incredible list of 15 influential Hispanic Americans who made history!