September 15 marks the beginning of Hispanic Heritage Month, an annual celebration dedicated to recognizing the influence, contribution, traditions, and achievements of Hispanic Americans and their ancestors who came from Mexico, the Caribbean, Central and South America, and Spain. The starting date signifies the day that Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua gained independence.
Starting out as Hispanic Heritage Week in 1968 under President Lyndon Johnson, it was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period. The theme for 2022 is Unidos: Inclusivity for a Stronger Nation. The theme encourages us to ensure all voices are represented and welcomed to help build stronger communities and a stronger nation.
Hispanic Heritage Month is an opportunity to not just listen, learn, and amplify Hispanic and Latinx voices – it’s also a chance to reflect on our own allyship and the roles we can play to create a more equitable and inclusive society. A few ways you can participate include:
- Supporting local Hispanic and Latinx businesses – According to the Joint Economic Committee’s Hispanic Entrepreneurship and Business Brief, nearly one in four new businesses are Hispanic-owned, and there are nearly 5 million Hispanic-owned businesses in the United States contributing more than $800 billion to the American economy annually.
- Donating to scholarship funds helps close the educational gaps in Hispanic and Latinx communities. The Hispanic Scholarship Fund, founded in 1975, has awarded more than $675 million in scholarships and provides a broad range of programs and support services for students, parents, scholars, and alumni.
- Connect with colleagues, neighbors, and friends from the Hispanic and Latinx communities and educate yourself to learn more about their history.
I’m proud to be a leader in AvePoint’s Latinx employee resource group, which offers opportunities and resources for members of our Latinx and Hispanic communities as well as allies to reflect, educate, and connect with one another throughout the year.