Why do we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month?

Although they will always require context and subsequent analysis, the numbers are accurate and usually say a lot.

According to Census Bureau, today there are approximately 62.1 million from Hispanic / Latino living in the United States, which is equivalent to 18.7 percent of the population. These numbers seem little to you? Well, let’s add context: 10 years earlier it was 16.3 percent.

More context: in this last decade, half of the population growth was borne by Latinos. In the other half were the Asian population (24 million in total), the white population (which decreased in number compared to 2010) and the other demographic groups that make up an increasingly multiracial and multicultural country.

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And there is one piece of information that says more: the average age of the Latino population is below 30 years, specifically, in the range from 27 (2010 Census) to 29 (2020 Census).

We are talking then of a population that can be considered “useful”, either to work or to specialize. All developed nations are grateful for having a population that ensures growth in the coming years, which constitutes a present and a future of invaluable workforce.

More context? We are talking about 10 years younger than the average age of the general population. This is a range in which many and many are forging a future job. Some have finished their university studies, and not a few are starting an academic postgraduate degree. This is an age in which we have all learned many things, but we still have a whole life ahead of us. An age in which you have youth, strength and a lot of desire.

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This – and no other – is the future of Hispanics in the United States.

In 1968, Congress authorized Democratic President Lyndon B. Johnson to proclaim National Hispanic Heritage Week, which began on September 15 – the date on which the independences of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Honduras are celebrated. Nicaragua– and covered September 16 and 18, days in which Mexico and Chile also celebrate their national holidays. The president’s proclamation urged the American people to celebrate the week with appropriate ceremonies and activities. And to further stimulate participation, in 1974 President Gerald R. Ford issued a statement urging schools and human rights organizations to participate fully.

But a single week for such a large “minority” group was not enough. Twenty years later, on August 17, 1988, Republican Ronald Reagan reiterated Ford’s call for an even broader recognition of Hispanic Americans. To do this, Congress approved Law 100-402, which extended the celebration to 31 days, a period that they called National Hispanic Heritage Month and that it would be destined to celebrate the history, the language, the future and the past of Latinos in the United States.

At the time of Johnson’s proclamation in 1968, there were just over 9 million Latinos in the United States. As we said above, today there are more than 62 million people who identify their roots with Cuba, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Central and South America, as well as with some other Hispanic-Latino culture independent of their race.

This will only grow, especially if we consider the average age that we also discussed. The Hispanic population still has a lot to give. And that has already given this country an enormity.

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Today there are more than 4 million Hispanic-owned and founded businesses across the US, contributing more than $ 700 billion to the federal economy. In the coming decades, Hispanics will represent an even larger proportion: the Hispanic population in the United States is estimated to reach 128.8 million people by 2060, constituting approximately 31 percent of the US population. They will constitute – as now – a significant proportion of the workforce, which will add to the growing impact of Hispanics in all areas of life in the United States, both labor and artistic, cultural and, of course, scientific and technological.

Because art, science and technology arise where there are ideas, vision and effort; where there is initiative, concern and improvement. There where you imagine something different from what you already have, and have the ability to bring that imagination to action.

We all celebrate this month as one people. We celebrate as what we are.

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