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The history behind National Hispanic Heritage Month

Hispanic Heritage Month started as a week-long celebration back in 1968.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Tuesday, Sept. 15 marks the start of National Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs through Oct. 15.

Hispanic Heritage Month started as a week-long celebration of "the Hispanic tradition" back in 1968, according to a proclamation issued by Pres. Lyndon B. Johnson. Congress passed a law authorizing the president to issue the annual proclamation.

Twenty years later, Congress passed a law extending the week to a month. On Sept. 14, 1989, Pres. George H.W. Bush issued the first National Hispanic Heritage Month Proclamation. Since 1989, every U.S. president has issued a proclamation each year. 

Hispanic Heritage Month recognizes the contributions of Americans with roots in Spain, Mexico, Central America, South America and the Spanish-speaking nations of the Caribbean.

Sept. 15 is the day that marks Independence Day for Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Mexico celebrates its independence day on Sept. 16.

You can celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month by donating to Hispanic charities in the area, learning about Hispanic culture, and honoring influential Hispanic individuals in the community. 

In Grand Rapids, the Hispanic Center of Western Michigan, focuses on serving the needs of the Latinx community. Its services range from language, job, and education assistance. 

Each year, the Hispanic Center puts on the Grand Rapids Hispanic Festival, which highlights Hispanic food, music, and fashion. Unfortunately, the 2020 event was canceled due to COVID-19.

The Hispanic Center is asking for donations in order to put on next year's festival, which is scheduled for Aug. 6-8, 2021.  

It is with great sadness that the Hispanic Center of Western Michigan announces the cancellation of the 2020 Annual...

Posted by Grand Rapids Hispanic Festival on Friday, May 8, 2020

If you are an artist, food vendor, Mercado vendor, company, or organization and would like to participate at the 2021 Hispanic Festival, contact Daniela Rojas-Cortes at drojascortes@hispanic-center.org. Applications for sponsorship will be available in Oct. 2020. Applications for food and artisan vendors will be available in Feb. 2021.

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