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Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month: Sept. 15 to Oct. 15

¡Feliz mes de la herencia hispana! Resources, Newsmakers and Historical Events

What is Hispanic Heritage Month About? 

¡Viva la cultura! Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15, by celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of Americans who trace their roots to Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America. The event commemorates how Hispanic individuals and communities have influenced and continue to contribute immensely to American society at large. This is a time to appreciate and celebrate the colorful cultures, rich histories, and diversity of Hispanic American communities.

The observation started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period. It was enacted into law on August 17, 1988, on the approval of Public Law 100-402.

The day of September 15 is significant because it is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on Sept. 16 and Sept.18, respectively. Also, Columbus Day or Día de la Raza, which is October 12, falls within this special period.

Here are some facts about Hispanic Heritage Month

National Hispanic Heritage Month has long been celebrated through events, educational programs, cultural festivals, and community activities. Dive into the arts! Discover the profound influence of Hispanic and Latino creators on art, music, and literature, from Frida Kahlo's iconic paintings to the rhythm of salsa and the magical realism of Gabriel García Márquez.  Expect lively celebrations, from colorful parades to traditional dances and delicious food festivals. This is a chance to savor mouthwatering dishes like tacos, empanadas, and paella.

The following countries celebrate their national independence during Hispanic Heritage Month: 

September 15 - Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua
September 16 - Mexico 
September 18 – Chile 

Independence dates for more Spanish-speaking nations: 

February – Dominican Republic (27th) 
May – Paraguay (14th); Cuba (20th) 
July – Venezuela (5th); Argentina (9th); Colombia (20th); Peru (28th) 
August – Bolivia (6th); Uruguay (25th) 
November – Panama (3rd) 

Here's a joyful phrase you can share during Hispanic Heritage Month

¡Feliz mes de la herencia hispana
Happy Hispanic Heritage Month! 

Learn about Cultural Norms on the Raising Joy Podcast 
Jessica Gomez, Psy.DThis episode of Raising Joy features a discussion about Mental Health and Cultural Norms with Jessica Gomez, Psy.D., the executive director of Momentous Institute, a nonprofit that offers mental health services and operates an elementary school. As a first-generation Mexican American, she knows firsthand the challenges of growing up in a culture that doesn't prioritize mental health. 

Dr. Gomez shares her personal story and discusses how her experiences have shaped her work. She also talks about the importance of culturally sensitive approaches to mental health care and how we can break down the stigmas surrounding mental illness.


Ready to Learn More? Here are Some Resources

Visit Fort Worth has more information about contributions of Hispanics in the city. 

Visit Fort Worth has five ways to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month in Fort Worth, including events to attend, places to eat, places to shop, and artwork to learn from.

Several Fort Worth organizations are hosting cultural celebrations, festivals and other events during Hispanic Heritage Month. 

Fort Worth Report has a list of cultural celebrations in Tarrant County during Hispanic Heritage Month.

The City of Dallas' Office of Arts and Culture has compiled a list of events during Hispanic Heritage Month.

The Pew Research Center has facts and statistics about Latinos in the United States.

The Texas Education Agency has compiled a list of resources to learn more about Hispanic heritage in Texas and the United States.

Learn about the history of the Mexican vaquero in Texas.

Fun Facts

Last updated:  Sept. 12, 2023

YearRecognized TrailblazerHistorical Contribution
1855Carlos Juan FinleySolved the Yellow Fever mystery in Cuba. 
1880José Celso BarbosaFirst Puerto Rican to receive a medical degree in the United States.
1947Bernardo A. HoussayDiscovered the role of the pituitary hormones and how they affect the regulation of blood sugar.
1948Hector P. Garcia, M.D.A Mexican American physician and civil rights activist who played a major role in advocating for Hispanic heritage. Founded the American G.I. Forum in 1948 to help Mexican American veterans with educational, health, work, and civil rights issues.
1959Severo OchoaFirst Hispanic American to win the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine. 
1971Ildaura Murillo-RohdeFirst Hispanic dean of nursing at New York University.
1973Fort Worth Chamber of CommerceThe Fort Worth Hispanic Chamber of Commerce was created when a small group of minority business and community members recognized the need for effective representation in the local business community. 
1977Louis Zapata Sr.Mr. Zapata became the first Hispanic person elected to the Fort Worth City Council, representing the north side. He held the post for 14 years.
1990Antonia Novello, M.D.Dr. Novello was the first woman and Hispanic person to become Surgeon General of the United States. 
1993Helen Rodríguez-TríasAmid many contributions prior to 1993 like pioneering campaigns for quality care and cultural awareness, Helen Rodríguez-Trías became the first Latina to preside over the American Public Health Association.
2000Julio FrenkFormer Minister of Health of Mexico and first Hispanic person to preside (to this day) over the University of Miami. 
2005Alberto R. Gonzales Mr. Gonzales was sworn in as the nation’s 80th and first Hispanic attorney general on February 3, 2005. 
2018Serena Auñón-Chancellor, M.D.First Hispanic physician to travel to space conducting experiments related to Parkinson's disease and cancer. 

Works Cited: 

Celebrating 10 Hispanic pioneers in medicine | AAMC

14 Powerful Hispanic Contributions to Medicine (spanish.academy)

Office of the Attorney General | Attorney General: Alberto R. Gonzales | United States Department of Justice