Celebrating Latino Culture at King/Drew
October 5, 2015
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For over 50 years, the United States has been a country where many cultures unite as one. Since the country is so culturally and racially diverse, the U.S Government has decided to observe each culture in a specific day or month. September is the month in which we celebrate the entire Latino/Hispanic Culture.
Hispanic Heritage week was first created in 1968 during president Lyndon B. Johnson’s presidential term and was further expanded in 1988 by president Ronald Reagan, which then became a one-month period between September 15 to October 15. National Hispanic Heritage Month was not made into a law until August 17, 1988 and still stands today.
The reason why Hispanic Heritage Month starts September 15 is because this is the day the countries of El Salvador, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Honduras and Nicaragua celebrate the day of their independence from Spain; while Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence on September 16.
At King/Drew, the Latino community makes up more than fifty percent of the student demographic. A couple of students were interviewed on their thoughts on observing the Latino Culture during this month and why this month is important to them personally.
“Living in a society where Latinos are looked down upon really hurts me. So Latino Heritage Month is when I am extremely proud to call myself a Latina,” stated Mayra Gonzalez(Grade 12).
Since many of the Latino people living in the United States, particularly the ones residing in the states of California, Nevada, Florida, and New York, have been “whitewashed,” Hispanic Heritage Month really gives a chance to truly become in touch with their ancestors and their roots. Jocelyn Ochoa(12th grade) said,“It is an opportunity to honor our roots and celebrate our ancestors that fought for our sovereignty from Spain and embrace our culture that forms an important part of our persona.”
Many Latinos have a mentality in which their goal is to be or become “white” in which they completely forget their origins and their roots. When asked the significance of Latino Heritage Month, Ms. Flores(World Language Teacher) responded by saying, “I am proud of my roots and when I started teaching my students did not know about their culture because we are not recognized. It gives us a chance to bring out our culture.”
Although Hispanic Heritage is observed in the United States during the month of September, the Latino population does not only celebrate their culture during this month. Many celebrate the Latino culture year-round, like Ana Vargas(Grade 12), who celebrates the day of the Virgin Mary which is December 12.
It is important for us to never forget where we came from no matter what image society has for us, always remember your roots, traditions and culture; ignore the negative stereotypes and embrace whatever culture you came from, be it African, Hispanic, Native American, European or Asian.