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By Dakin Andone | CNN

National Hispanic Heritage Month begins Wednesday and will run through October 15, giving the United States an opportunity to recognize and celebrate members of our communities and their ancestors who hail from Mexico, parts of the Caribbean, Central and South America and Spain.

“The Latino community and Latino history is a fundamental part of American history,” said Emily Key, director of education at the Smithsonian Latino Center. “And recognizing that and understanding that are key reasons why this month is important.”

Here’s why America commemorates Hispanic Heritage Month and what you should know about it.

The history

Rather than starting at the beginning of September, Hispanic Heritage Month takes place over 30 days starting on the 15th — a nod to the anniversaries of national independence for a number of Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua all recognize September 15 as the date of their independence, while Mexico’s independence is celebrated September 16 and Chile celebrates its independence September 18.

Hispanic Heritage Month traces its history to 1968, when the observance was just a week long. President Lyndon B. Johnson signed a bill designating the week of September 15 as “National Hispanic Heritage Week,” according to the Office of the Historian and the Office of Art & Archives for the US House of Representatives.

In the inaugural proclamation, he wrote of the “great contribution to our national heritage made by our people of Hispanic descent — not only in the fields of culture, business, and science, but also through their valor in battle.”

“That was a period for sure, when Chicanos in the Southwest, Mexican Americans, Latinos across the country were demanding greater inclusion and representation politically, culturally, socially, economically — everything,” said Geraldo Cadava, professor of history and …read more

Source:: East Bay – Entertainment

      

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