Hispanic Heritage Month
30 days to look back, plan forward and celebrate our heritage.
In 1968 Congress authorized President Lyndon Johnson to proclaim Hispanic Heritage Week, and so he did. Having been a schoolteacher in rural Texas, Mr. Johnson was intimately familiar with the plight of the Latino worker and in such a tumultuous year as 1968, the dedication of this sliver of time to celebrate our heritage although well meant, today seems almost ominous of the many more struggles to come all the way up our days.
In 1968 Cesar Chávez was in the middle of organizing farm workers throughout the nation leaving a trail of hope and justice. That same year Dolores Huerta was celebrating Robert F. Kennedy’s victory in the Democratic presidential primary when the young candidate was cowardly assassinated in a concert hall of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, California. Latinos were active and front and center in this transformational year and yet our place in it will be forever overshadowed by the overwhelming weight of the civil rights struggle and the horrors of the Vietnam war, the first war ever to be televised live from the theater of war. I am not exactly sure if Mr. Johnson’s realized that history simply would have no space for us in such banner year but the idea of a week celebrating our heritage was a very good one. Gracias Lyndon!
Ronald Reagan, the great communicator, among the many effective Public Relations decisions he made, in 1988 the last year of his presidency, expanded our little space in the calendar to a whole month and therefore it has been 24 years since from September 15th to October 15th we celebrate the Hispanic Heritage Month.
In days like the ones we are currently living, when in one hand we as a community are being constantly demonized by certain elements in our society and on the other we have acquired unprecedented awareness of our place in the American family and of the formidable political power we have in our collective hand, it’s a good thing to pause for a moment and render homage to the ones who preceded us in this journey and to their legacy as well as to reflect where we want to go and how to get there.
How are you planning to celebrate the HHM this year? Will your kids be involved? Your friends? Your community? Share with us what your plans are, and even more importantly how do you feel about the Hispanic Heritage Month?
I think during HHM it will be a good time for us to reflect not only on our past, but more important on our future and the future of our children.
The question we should be asking ourselves is, are we doing everything possible to make sure our kids are well educated, are we making the same sacrifices made by so many other ethnic minorities to make education a top priority. As we look around and reflect our goal should be without hesitation the higher education of our children.
We need to fully understand that the only way for our society to advance is through education, it’s the way out of poverty, lower incomes and indignation. Education is the driving force for a better life.
Too many of our kids today give up on High School, and the number attending colleges and Universities is not growing fast enough. This is a catastrophe that must change now, our kids dropping out, not going to college says more about us as parents than we are willing to admit.
Yes us Hispanics need to think of becoming part of the solution not part of the problem, and the only way is by making sure we have done everything to ensure our kids are well educated.