It’s time to celebrate Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month

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Briennah Bragg, Staff Reporter

From September 15th to October 15th, citizens celebrate Latinx/Hispanic Heritage Month. It is a month where Hispanic and Latinx citizens celebrate their rich heritage, independence, and the contributions they have made to this country. 

It originally began as Hispanic Heritage week in 1968 under President Richard Nixon. Representative Esteban Torres of California later proposed a bill to expand the week into a month beginning on September 15 and ending in October because he thought more time was needed to properly observe the Hispanic culture and their contributions to our society. In 1988, it was officially signed and the week was turned into a full month under President Ronald Reagan. 

The month of celebration is divided between two months in order to align itself with the independence days of many Latinx countries. The first day is extremely significant because September 15th is the independence day for Costa Rica, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras, and Guatemala. 

“The most important aspect of this month is to honor those who are Hispanic,” said Latina Naugatuck High student Schalaima Cuesta. During this month, it is important to listen and lift up our Hispanic and Latinx friends to truly understand the beauty and true meaning of this month. The creation of this month is centered around Hispanic/Latinx culture and honoring the contributions they have contributed to this country. 

There are many ways to celebrate this month but as Cuesta stated, it is important to look back and honor the Hispanic revolutionaries who came before us. Some that come to the forefront of my mind are Sylvia Rivera and Sonia Sotomayor.

Sylvia Rivera was a veteran of the 1969 Stonewall uprising and an LGBT activist. Rivera was born to a Puerto Rican father and a Venezuelan mother, she knew from a young age that she was meant to live as a woman. She fought alongside Marsha P. Johnson for the inclusion of transgender and non-white queer folk in the gay liberation movement and for the rights of the homeless as well. 

Sonia Sotomayor was the first Hispanic Supreme Court justice. Born in the Bronx to a Puerto Rican single mother, Sotomayor aspired to be a judge after watching Perry Mason on tv. In her career, she worked to prevent and prosecute all forms of racial discrimination in court. She became living proof that Latina women could make it. 

These are just two of countless Latinx activists and revolutionaries that brought about tremendous change to our society and country. Articles such as 15 Latino Activists You Should Know And Read About, have much more information on other Latinx or Hispanic figures in history who have paved the way for themselves and others. It is important to honor real people and their impact during this month of celebration in order to truly understand and appreciate Hispanic Heritage.