Mes Nacional de la Herencia Hispana, or National Hispanic Heritage Month, is observed throughout the United States each September 15th through October 15th and recognizes the many influences and contributions of Hispanic Americans to the culture, history, and achievements of our country.
Mexico observes its independence from Spain on September 15th, while most Central American countries observe their independence event the following day. Chile commemorates its independence on September 18th.
In 1968 Hispanic Week was established by United States legislation and signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson. Twenty years later the week was expanded to a month – September 15th to October 15th – by an additional act of Congress and signed into law by President Ronald Reagan.
National Hispanic Heritage Month was initially proclaimed by President George H.W. Bush on September 14th, 1989. Since then, all succeeding Presidents have issued a Presidential Proclamation to mark National Hispanic Heritage Month.
Yearly events held during National Hispanic Heritage Month include:
- New York City’s El Barrio Latin Jazz Festival held in The Bronx
- The Hispanic Family Festival in Springdale, Massachusetts
- The Official Latino Short Film Festival; and numerous events during the 4-week period held at the Smithsonian Institution.
Local areas hold their annual celebrations as well, unique to the identity of each municipality.
Branches of the military honor both active-duty Hispanic Americans and those who have died defending our country. The Medal of Honor has been awarded to sixty-one Hispanic American heroes. The US Army website cites their goal during National Hispanic Heritage Month of celebrating the diverse and inclusive nature of its ranks. The Navy honors sailors of Hispanic heritage going back to the Civil War.
The Army states that the percentage of Hispanic Americans serving is over 16% of active duty soldiers. The Navy says that over 60,000 active duty and reservist sailors are of Hispanic heritage, including in the Marines.
Hispanic American Representation in the U.S. is Growing
2020 U.S. Census data reveals that Hispanic Americans comprise almost 19% of the United States’ population and are the second-largest ethnic group in the country behind White Americans. The U.S. Census Bureau reported that in the 10-year period ending in 2020, the U.S. Hispanic population grew by 23%. Current forecasts project that by the year 2060 the Hispanic population will grow to 129 million, becoming 28% of the U.S. population and contributing a greater influence on the overall economy.
Hispanic American Representation in the Transportation Industry is Also Growing
In the trucking industry, Hispanic Americans total 12% and represent a growing number of the country’s truckers. Interestingly the average age of Hispanic drivers is lower than the industry average. The trend suggests continued growth and representation of Hispanics in the transportation industry, and in logistics overall.
Industry Groups Focus on Hispanic American Contributions and Needs
Not surprisingly, the growth of Hispanic Americans in transportation has resulted in specialized industry trade groups representing their interests. Organizations such as Latinos in Transit and the Transportation Diversity Council have been created as a means of advocating for diversity in the logistics and transportation industries and to recognize the increasing strength of minorities’ professional development.
Hispanic Americans’ growth trajectory continues, becoming more and more an integral part of the identity of our country. We are reminded of the beautiful nature of the American people, in a land that was founded as a beacon of multicultural diversity. The logistics and transportation industries are just one of many beneficiaries of the multiethnic nature of America. National Hispanic Heritage Month encourages Americans from shore to shore to learn more about Hispanic American history, culture, and the vast contributions made to our nation by Hispanic Americans. This year’s theme for Hispanic Heritage month is Unidos: Inclusivity for a Stronger Nation. As we culminate this month of learning, growing, and celebration, we share gratitude for our freedom to include, unite, and grow together as a nation.
Coincidentally, ECA’s 2023 MarketPlace is being held in San Antonio from April 24 – 26 during which San Antonio’s annual Fiesta is also taking place. Fiesta is an annual San Antonio celebration that was initially celebrated in 1891 as a parade honoring the memory of the heroes who defended the Alamo and fought the Battle of San Jacinto. Fiesta has grown into one of our country’s premier Hispanic-American festivals. The more than week-long event is a celebration of the city’s diverse cultures. The economic impact of Fiesta is more than $340 million and the funds that are raised are used to support services to the citizens of San Antonio throughout the year.
Photo credit: Hispanic Heritage Month 2022 | Office …edi.nih.gov
Photo credit: https://www.bulldogtribune.com/feature/2022/09/15/hispanic-heritage-month/