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Monday, April 22, 2024

Rumor has it that we are in the midst of Hispanic Heritage Month. This was news to me and apparently, news to many other people as well - including some Hispanics. Maybe I've been living under a rock, but I haven't seen any posters, heard of any celebratory events or seen anyone in Hispanic Heritage Month T-Shirts.

Most African Americans can name some key eras, events and people associated with the struggles and triumphs of blacks in this country. Every February, our schools don't just mention Black History Month on the morning announcements; we celebrate it for the whole month. Whose high school didn't crowd students into the gym for the Black History Show? Yeah, there was a lot of romp shaking at those shows but at the end of the day, we knew about the Harlem Renaissance and could name some black inventors.

As far as Hispanic Heritage Month goes, I did not become aware of it until my senior year of high school. I only knew about it because we were excused from class for the Hispanic Heritage Month Show; the "Spanish Show," as some of us called it. I remember some flags being paraded around the gym and a little bit of Bachata dancing. Actually, there was a lot of Bachata dancing. Shamefully, that pretty much sums up my Hispanic Heritage Month experience. This shouldn't be.

There are scores of Hispanics who have made their mark on not just their own cultures, but the American culture as well. We shouldn't celebrate their heritage and learn about their traditions just because they were forced to observe Black History Month along with us in schools. We should all participate because our nation and the world is more than just us. Every minority deserves to have their achievements recognized, especially in a society such as ours, where we aren't always recognized for the good. Every culture should have a T-shirt and maybe a parade, too.

Hispanic Heritage Month began in 1968 as a week devoted to Hispanic culture and accomplishments. Eventually, it was given an entire month in 1988, lasting from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15. The purpose of Hispanic Heritage Month is to honor those who gave a face to Hispanic success and the culture that inspired them.

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