Hispanic and Latino Heritage Month is celebrated in the United States between September 15 and October 15 each year. Read how you can help more youth embrace their Hispanic heritage.
Each year from September 15 to October 15, Boys & Girls Clubs across the United States honor the history, cultures, struggles and triumphs of Hispanic and Latino Americans during Hispanic Heritage Month.
Knowing more about your unique heritage helps kids foster meaningful connections and pride within their communities. In fact, a recent survey commissioned by our partner, Ancestry, found that 88% of Spanish-speakers in the U.S. believe it is important to honor family history and heritage. Celebrating cultural traditions, language, music and cuisines cultivates a stronger sense of belonging and helps kids develop confidence.
But beyond honoring family history and heritage, when kids learn about the array of cultures around them, they increase their curiosity, perspective and respect for themselves and others.
That’s where Clubs come in. Nearly a quarter of kids who attend Boys & Girls Clubs identify as Hispanic or Latino, meaning their family ancestry is rooted in Mexico, the Caribbean, Central and South America, and Spain. Through cultural programming and celebrations at Clubs, kids are encouraged to explore and connect with their heritage and learn about the unique heritage of their peers.
But don’t take it from us — here’s what Club kids have to say:
“My heritage reminds me that I’m here because of the sacrifices and journey of my grandparents to give my parents, myself and my siblings more opportunities. It also encourages me to continue my education so that I can show other Hispanic and Latino kids that anything is possible.” – Joecelyn S., Club teen
“I’ll never forget when I was in the 4th grade, I packed my lunch for school — a very standard Cuban lunch of rice, beans, chicken and plantains. As I sat down to eat it, one of my friends looked at my lunch and said: ‘That’s so disgusting.’
It’s a moment many children from immigrant families have experienced, and a comment that is mainly employed to undermine our powerful identities and experiences. After all, it was my culture he was mocking. I started losing confidence in myself and tried to assimilate to what people wanted me to be.
But as a teen at the Club, staff didn’t want me to alter who I am, or to sacrifice key aspects of my identity in order to gain acceptance from others. And I realized that’s what I had been doing for a large part of my life. I thought I was assimilating, but really I was erasing those key facets of my identity.
The Club was a safe place for me to express all aspects of who I am. And of course, now I eat rice and beans all the time — and do so proudly!” – Jorge, Club teen
Want to learn more about Hispanic Heritage Month? Here are some facts about this month-long celebration.
Hispanic Heritage Month takes place from September 15 to October 15 every year.
We celebrate Hispanic & Latino Heritage Month from September 15th to October 15th, coinciding with the independence days of various Latin American countries. September 15 alone marks the anniversary of independence for five different countries — Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Guatemala.
According to the 2020 census, one in five people in the United States identifies as Hispanic.
In fact, one in four Boys & Girls Club kids identify as Hispanic or Latino, including several famous Club alumni, such as Jennifer Lopez, Alex Rodriguez, Mario Lopez, Julian Castro and Tony La Russa.
Hispanic Heritage Month represents the culture and interests of both Hispanic and Latino people.
While the terms “Hispanic” and “Latino” are often used interchangeably, they actually refer to different groups. The term “Hispanic” refers to people who are descended from Spanish-speaking countries, while “Latino” applies to people with heritage in Latin America, regardless of language spoken. Together, the terms encompass people from 27 different countries and territories, and account for more than 19% of the official U.S. population.
The United States has been observing Hispanic heritage celebrations since 1968.
The first official observation began in 1968 under President Lyndon B. Johnson and was enacted into law on August 17, 1988.
Today, there are many ways to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month. Even if your family isn't from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, Central or South America, you can still honor the histories and contributions of these vibrant cultures by learning more about their stories, music and cuisines.
Because when people of all ages celebrate cultural heritage, it helps them understand traditions and history, enables self-awareness, builds respect and honors America's diverse story.
Boys & Girls Clubs of America provide inclusive environments where youth are encouraged to express themselves and deepen their understanding of and respect for others. Sign up today to learn more about how you can empower today’s kids and teens to work together to create positive change for everyone.
Boys & Girls Clubs of America has partnered with Ancestry to empower the next generation of history makers and provide Club kids with the tools and resources to embrace and celebrate their unique history.