National Hispanic-Latinx Heritage Month is observed from September 15th to October 15th of each year. This 30-day period serves as a time to cherish the histories, traditions, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Portugal, Mexico, Central and South America, and the Caribbean.
This nation-wide observation began in 1968 when President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Hispanic Heritage Week bill (P.L. 90–498) into law. In 1987, California Representative Esteban Torres proposed a bill to expand Hispanic Heritage Week into a Hispanic Heritage Month, stating “(we) want the American people to learn of our heritage. We want the public to know that we share a legacy with the rest of the country, a legacy that includes artists, writers, Olympic champions, and leaders in business, government, cinema, and science.” Despite Torres’ limited success, the sentiment was carried into a bill introduced by Illinois Senator Paul Simon and later signed into law by President Ronald W. Reagan in 1988.
Do you Know the Difference Between Hispanic and Latina/o/x?
Hispanic and Latinx are both panethnicities, used to generically group various ethnic communities together based on their related and/or shared linguistic, geographic, cultural, or religious origins. Hispanic refers to individuals that descend from Spain or Spanish speaking countries. The term Hispanic was introduced during the early 1970s, and after decades of lobbying and protesting for recognition by activists, first appeared in the U.S. Census in 1980. However, it is important to note that the term Hispanic does not encompass certain communities, such as Brazilians who are of Portuguese descent. As a result, the phrase Latin American was contrived. Latin America (and the term Latino/a/x) refers to regions of the Americas where Romance languages (such as Spanish, French and Portuguese) are predominantly spoken. Despite the origins and sentiment behind these terms, it is important to let people self-identify.
What Does LatinX mean?
Latin, the ancient language of Rome, and the derived romance languages are considered gendered languages. In Spanish, Portuguese, and French, nouns are either masculine or feminine as denoted by the suffix. The Spanish word for turtle (tortuga) is feminine while cat (gato) is masculine. The term Latinx removes the a/o suffix and is a gender neutral way to reference Latin Americans. As prescribed by the Merriam Webster dictionary, “the most common way to pronounce Latinx is the same way you would Spanish-derived Latina or Latino but pronouncing the “x” as the name of the English letter X. So you get something like luh-TEE-neks.”
Celebrating Hispanic-Latinx Contributions
- The Color Television: Guillermo Gonzalez Camarena, a 23 year old electrical engineer from Guadalajara Mexico, patented the first color television in the United States and Mexico.
- Captcha Codes: That funky text you have to decipher prior to accessing online information was developed by Guatemala-born doctor Luis Von Ahn. This online access code format is used to prevent spam and fraudulent activity.
- Insulin: Born in Mexico, Lydia Villa-Komaroff was granted U.S. patents for “Recombinant DNA Molecule” and “Protein Synthesis.” These patents helped her team discover how to utilize bacterial cells to generate insulin.
- The Stent: Julio C. Palmaz, an Argentine vascular radiologist, invented the balloon expandable stent that is used to treat cardiovascular disease. The Palmaz Stent was the first balloon stent to be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Thank you for taking the time to learn about the origins of National Hispanic-Latinx Heritage Month! To learn more about what Bowman is doing to advance its workplace and the accounting sector, visit our Diversity & inclusion page through the button below!