In collaboration with the Orange County Hispanic Bar Association (OCHBA), OCCDL is pleased to commemorate National Hispanic Heritage Month with a media starter recognizing the contributions and important presence of Hispanic and Latinx Americans to the United States and our society at large. The origins of National Hispanic Heritage Month began in June 1968 when California Congressman George E. Brown introduced a joint resolution to commemorate National Hispanic Heritage Week; shortly thereafter, Congress passed Public Law 90-498 in September, and President Lyndon B. Johnson issued the first Hispanic Heritage Week presidential proclamation the same day. In 1987 California Congressman Esteban E. Torres proposed expanding the observance to 31 days to “properly observe and coordinate events and activities to celebrate Hispanic culture and achievement.” Illinois Sen. Paul Simon successfully sponsored such a bill in 1988, and President Ronald Reagan signed Public Law 100-402 that August. The original time period was chosen to celebrate the September 15 and 16 anniversaries of independence of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Mexico from Spain. The expanded month (September 15–October 15) includes the September 18 and 21 independence days of Chile and Belize from Spain and Great Britain, respectively; and October 12, Día de la Hispanidad (Day of Hispanicity in Spain), Día de la Raza (Day of the Race in Mexico), Día de las Américas (Day of the Americas in Belize and Uruguay), and Día de los pueblos originarios y el diálogo intercultural (Indigenous Peoples and Intercultural Dialogue Day in Peru).
When President George H.W. Bush (who had co-sponsored the original resolution) proclaimed the first 31-day National Hispanic Heritage Month in 1989, he noted:
Not all of the contributions made by Hispanic Americans to our society are so visible or so widely celebrated, however. Hispanic Americans have enriched our Nation beyond measure with the quiet strength of closely knit families and proud communities. Many have come to the United States in search of the freedom and opportunity denied to them by Marxist-Leninist regimes in their ancestral homelands. Industrious and determined, they have not only reaped the rewards of freedom, but also shared with their children a profound understanding of the rights and responsibilities we have as citizens of a free Nation. . . The rich ethnic heritage of Hispanic Americans gives us cause to celebrate because it is a proud and colorful portion of our Nation's heritage. Hispanic Americans have reaffirmed our belief in the principles of liberty and democratic government, and they have helped to share that vision with our neighbors in Central and South America and the Caribbean. This month, as we recognize the many achievements of Hispanic Americans, we also recall the universal appeal of the American ideal of freedom and opportunity for all.
To commemorate National Hispanic Heritage Month, we created a media starter with a number of recommendations reflecting Hispanic and Latinx heritage. We hope you find some old and new favorites among the curated suggestions below, and join OCHBA and OCCDL in appreciating and celebrating colleagues, friends, and community members of Hispanic and Latinx descent even after National Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month comes to a close.