October 12, 2021

Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month

By: Selena Llamas, Southern Arizona Community Impact Manager

Every year we have the opportunity to honor Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15. This is the perfect time to celebrate the history, contributions and culture of American citizens whose ancestors came from Latin American countries.

So why exactly do we celebrate in the middle of two fall months?

Our bicultural worlds helped determine the dates. September 15 is important because it is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September 18.

As a proud Mexican American born and raised in Tucson, I decided to use my voice to elevate Hispanic Heritage Month.

Selena Llamas, Southern Arizona Community Impact Manager

Our culture is rich, vibrant and much more than great food and festivities.

The Hispanic community has selflessly sacrificed as we worked in the fields to ensure Americans have food on the table during the COVID-19 pandemic. We are the frontline workers caring for patients in hospitals throughout every community in the country. We are proud to serve in the military; no other ethnic group in the United States has been awarded more Medals of Honor per capita. We have served as state governors like Raul Castro, the 14th governor of Arizona in 1974. Castro was a Mexican American politician, diplomat and judge.

This month, I encourage everyone to learn new things about Hispanic history.

You can appreciate the history while eating tacos and listening to Peter Gene Hernandez, also known as Bruno Mars, or while watching color TV, invented by Guillermo Gonzalez Camarena. You can also consider mentoring a young Latino student to support and encourage them to think about how they can impact the world in a positive way.

I invite you to try a new recipe influenced by Latin American flavors, find a new book to read that was written by a Hispanic author, or watch a film that was directed by a Latino filmmaker. Reflection and recognition are the most meaningful form of honor during this month of celebrating Hispanic culture.

Together, we can all show our love to the Hispanic communities in this country, this month and every day.

Selena Llamas is the southern Arizona community impact manager for Education Forward Arizona. She is proud of her Mexican American culture and is a fourth-generation Tucson native.