From September 15 to October 15, our country celebrates National Hispanic Heritage Month by commemorating the history, heritage, and contributions of those who came from Mexico, Spain, the Caribbean, and South and Central America. Communities all over the United States mark the achievements of Hispanic and Latino Americans with festivals and educational activities.
National Hispanic Heritage celebrations originally started with one week of commemoration when it was first introduced by Congressman George E. Brown, Jr. (D-CA) in June 1968 as the result of the civil rights movement. During that period, many ethnic groups saw the need to finally recognize the contributions people of color made to US history.
For example, while many are familiar with how African-American slave, Irish, and Chinese labor were used to build America’s railroad system, some may not be aware of just how much Mexican workers helped to build railroads across the midwestern and western parts of our country. They faced dangerous working conditions with very little pay. To learn more, check the American Rails web site, which features a comprehensive review of Dr. Jeffrey Marcos Garcilazo’s book, Traqueros: Mexican Railroad Workers in The United States, 1870-1930.
Hispanic Heritage Month Activities
Current pandemic conditions have limited events in Northern California this year; however, here are two you may like to consider:
Sunday, September 26, 10:00am – 5:00pm the San Francisco Exploratorium will present its 22nd annual Día de la Ingeniería/Latinx Engineering Day 2021, which combines a bilingual panel discussion, presentations on the science and engineering heritage of Latinx people, and playful hands-on activities.