By Maribel Romo
In 1968, President Lyndon B. Johnson initiated a new week into the calendar, this week was made with the intention of celebrating the influence and the impact that multiple generations of hispanics have had in the US. This celebratory week was called “Hispanic Heritage week”. This weeklong celebration began on the 15th of September,which was due to the fact that it counts as the independence day for various places, such as El Salvador, Guatemala, Costa Rica and much more! It wasn’t until President Reagan’s reign that this seven day celebration extended it’s stay by twenty four days, making this once week long celebration into a whole month! Now Hispanic heritage month is celebrated all over America, but the question is, “How can we celebrate it?”
Well there are many ways to celebrate it but the main one is part of what hispanics are all about: Getting together. A simple get together with the family is all it takes to throw this celebratory month into swing. Our own VCHS even took a “swing” at Hispanic heritage month with a pinata and some music in the quad for students to enjoy at lunch. As fun as that was, there are other ways to celebrate. Another great way to celebrate this month is by research. I know that research sounds much less fun than a get together with the family but there’s really no point in having a get together if you don’t know the true reason that you’re getting together. Doing research is probably the best way for non-hispanics to learn about the culture and garner respect for it.
Moreover, most people know about the impact of figures like Cesar Chavez, Ellen Ochoa, Selena and Frida but there’s so much more to know about. Obviously, we shouldn’t disregard their impact in any way but the same amount of attention they are receiving should be paid to other hispanics who’ve left their mark on the world. An example of one of these people is Sonia Sotomayor who made history when she became the first Latina in the supreme court justice. Despite facing adversity, she rose up to the challenges and to this day, still fights for the little guys. Stories like these serve as inspiration for those who look like her and feel as though all the odds are against them. Success stories like these are what tells these same girls that really “Anything is possible”. Another person who deserves more recognition is Lin-Manuel Miranda. Serving as a playwright, actor and composer, it’s impressive that none of these are the real reasons he deserves praise. One of his biggest pieces of work to date is Hamilton which was made with intent to endorse diversity. This was done by casting people of color into the roles of famous historical figures, who in real life were white. Another example can be seen in another work of his In The Heights which centers around a latino community in Washington Heights. It wasn’t only through the diverse cast that he made an impact but also through the story. Not only did the play exemplify the family-oriented relationships that rule our day to day life but it also touched on important issues, like immigration and gentrification. As good as these are, there are so many more impactful people that have made a difference and there are so many more that are yet to come make a difference.
Even though the month has come to an end, there’s always a time to look into our past with pride and pay our respects to the ancestors who helped pave our future.