Hispanic Heritage Month takes place between September 15 and October 15 every year. It’s a time to celebrate and observe the accomplishments, cultures, stories, and the history of the Latin American community. The significance of the celebration starting on September 15 instead of the beginning of the month pays respect to the anniversary of independence for the Latin American countries of El Salvador, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras and Guatemala in 1851.
We asked our employees what Hispanic Heritage Month means to them, and asked what they wanted others to know about the culture.
Elizabeth Bogardus: Hispanic Heritage Month celebrates the contributions and diversity of our extensive family culture, with mine being both Mexican and Spanish. Growing up I learned the value and importance of family. I’d like to educate others that diversity is what makes this country great. Since beliefs are learned and shared across groups of people, I want to be a positive influence on people’s view of the Hispanic community.
Joshua Melendez: It’s the celebration of our ancestry, of our people, our culture, taking pride in the roots we all came from. We can be miles away from our motherlands – some gave up everything to come to the United States, coming here with little to no money and not knowing the language, but still making the best out of life even with all the obstacles thrown at us. I never forget where I come from and remember to stay humble even when you’re put in high places. I thank God for everything in life. People are quick to assume every Hispanic is from Mexico, but there are at least 33 other Latin Countries in the world.
Junior Rico: During Hispanic Heritage Month, pretty much every news outlet tries to give attention to what most of us do not care for. We know we are the backbone of what most take for granted. We work hard and don’t expect praise. Our off button doesn’t work and we work from sun up to sun down every day to give our families the best life we can. I am lucky enough to have been born and raised farming and ranching in West Texas so I am extra proud of that work ethic. Hispanic Heritage Month highlights a lot of things that most people do not know. For instance, most people still think Cinco de Mayo is Mexico’s Independence Day, but it is not. Also, a big holiday for us is Dia de Los Muertos which is a day we celebrate all of our family who have passed on.
Andrea Jones: Throughout my childhood, my Mexican culture has blended with the need to assimilate, and I am now a very proud Mexican-American. Family and hard work are the twin pillars of Hispanic culture that were deeply engrained in me and my siblings by our mother. My mother’s choice to bring us to America have pushed me to make her sacrifices worth it. I was able to receive a college education and am raising a family of my own. I hope to one day be able to take care of her the way she takes care of her own parents back home in Mexico. Mexican culture is rich and worth researching and learning about, at one’s own pace. I encourage all who are curious to look into it!
Jacob Desantiago: It is a time to take an even greater pride and appreciation for one’s own culture and cherish it with family and friends. I value the togetherness the culture brings. During time of festivities or small occasions you can always expect the Hispanic community to show support for each other. The one thing I truly would like people to know is about the different types of delicious foods that the Hispanic culture brings. Each cultural dish offers a never ending variety or new twists.
Jonathan Mendoza: Hispanic Heritage Month means the remembrance of my roots and my ancestors as well as the influence of Hispanic people in American society. Cultural values that important to me are family, respect for the elderly, honor, work ethic and good manners. The Hispanic culture is friendly and caring. It is also very sport driven (soccer for the most part).
Irvin Sierra: It’s an opportunity to educate myself on Hispanics that made a contribution to society. Having a good work ethic, a connection to God and family, and large gatherings with plenty of food are important cultural values to me. Being first generation Americans, my parents showed me the struggles they had growing up and how having an education can make a difference. When you meet someone in the Hispanic culture, it is custom to shake hands at a minimum, and to kiss the check of a woman even when you meet for the first time.