Between September 15th and October 15th, the United States celebrates National Hispanic Heritage Month. It’s an opportunity to recognize the histories, cultures, and contributions of those United States citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America. The observance began in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week and was expanded by law in 1988 to a month-long event.
“American identity is a fabric of diverse traditions and stories woven together,” said President Joe Biden last year in a written statement.
“Since the beginning, our country has drawn strength and insights from Hispanic writers, scientists, soldiers, doctors, entrepreneurs, academics, and leaders in labor and government. Our culture has been enriched by the rhythms, art, literature, and creativity of Hispanic peoples.”
“Hispanic history is American history,” said President Biden. “It’s a history that beats in the soul of our nation and that lives in the dreams of those who’ve only just arrived and in the legacy of families who’ve been here … for generations.”
Indeed, Hispanic Americans have had a profound influence on the development of the United States. They laid the foundations of some our greatest cities, including San Antonio, Albuquerque, Tucson, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. They have served honorably in the United States Armed Forces, defending the values Americans hold dear. They have transformed industries with innovative ideas. And they have led and inspired movements that have pushed the country toward greater equality and a more just society.
“I’ve always said America is defined by one word,” said President Biden. “Possibilities. Anything is possible here.”
“The possibilities that exist are no more evident anywhere than in the Hispanic community in the United States,” he said. “Courage and character that reflects who we are as a nation — a great nation — because we are a good people.”
“We’re the only nation built on an idea. Every other nation is built based on geography, ethnicity, or religion or whatever. But we’re the only one based on an idea,” said President Biden.
“‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men and women are created equal, endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights — life, liberty.’ That’s who we are. That’s the nation. We are a nation of immigrants.”