Increasing Visibility for Hispanic Heritage Month

Filed in Lifestyle by on October 15, 2009 0 Comments
Courtesy of WGBH

Courtesy of WGBH

Did you know that Hispanic Heritage Month comes to a close today?  I’m sure many of us may not have even been aware of it.  Worcester’s hispanic population was 15.1% as of the last census and given that the population has increased in Worcester I would guess that percentage has increased as well.  So assuming the percentage stayed the same the “current” population might be about 26,000 people(based on a current total estimate of 175,000 in Worcester).  As I was searching for material for this post I was surprised at the lack of events, initiatives, programs and news coming out of Central Massachusetts about Hispanic Heritage month.  We need to do better!

Hispanic Heritage Month started back in 1988 courtesy of President Ronald Reagan.  It starts on September 15th and ends October 15.  This odd date range is because the September 15th date is a significant date of independence for a few Latin American countries.  During this time it is hoped that organizations recognize the contributions of Hispanic Americans to the United States.  It is also meant to celebrate the unique cultures and heritage of people of both Hispanic and Latin American descent here in the US.

There were events held around the country in honor of the month.  For future reference the the National Council of La Raza maintains a list of hispanic heritage month events.  As teachers you can also incorporate lesson plans and activities about the contributions of hispanics into your monthly lesson plans for this time.  I found 3 websites that offer plans and/or suggestions:

Education World Hispanic Heritage

TeacherVision

Scholastic

Worcester has not missed the boat completely on increasing visibility of the Latino culture.  You may remember that the Latin American Festival is held at Worcester Common in August.

Music is one of the most visible contributions of the hispanic/latino culture on the United States.  WGBH of Boston has put together a documentary of sorts that will be aired on October 19th on Channel 2.  It brings together a broad range of Latin Music styles like Latin Pop, Salsa, Chicano Rock, Tejano and Reggaeton that have developed in the US.  It also shows the influence that it has had on US music overall.  So fortunately it isn’t too late to get something out of Hispanic Heritage Month!

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