Hispanic Heritage Month

The Hispanic community in America accounts for over 60 million people, which is about one-fifth of the American population. Hispanic Heritage Month celebrates the history, independence, and contributions of this community over the past several decades. It is a time to give attention to people from Cuba, Puerto Rico, Spain, South America, Central America, Mexico, and other Spanish-speaking countries. 

Hispanic Heritage Month began as Hispanic Heritage Week when President Lyndon B. Johnson officially declared it a holiday in 1968. Then, two decades later, President Ronald Reagan passed a law transforming Hispanic Heritage Week into an entire month. This time is celebrated with concerts, festivals, movies, parades, and shows. 

LHS has also made efforts to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month. Foreign Language Department Chairperson Leonard Bruno stated, “I want the language teachers to share some of the [Hispanic] contributions with the kids because such a large number of students here in Lynbrook study Spanish. A big part of the language is the culture, not just the grammar. Hispanics have rich cultures and have greatly contributed to American culture.” 

Hispanic celebrities like Bruno Mars, Jennifer Lopez, Sofia Vergara, and Shakira have helped to shape this American culture. Even Hispanic athletes like Lionel Messi, Alex Rodriguez, and Robert Clemente have changed the world of sports. “There is so much that our kids can learn if our teachers are sharing some of the cultures, traditions, and history of this group,” Bruno added. He said he would like students to learn about Hispanic contributions in art, film, music, cooking, sports, politics, and literature.

Freshman Abril Trejo Rocha shared her family’s Hispanic Heritage Month traditions: “I celebrate a little bit by making food like mashed plantains, guacamole, and tacos.” Additionally, she said she “listens to Spanish music and dance.” Rocha, who celebrated on the weekend of Sept. 24, explained that celebrating “makes us feel proud of our culture.”

Each family is different, celebrating at different times and preparing different dishes. Teacher Miguelina Torres said, “I make Spanish dishes with my family, like paella from Spain. From the Dominican Republic, I make rice and beans with chicken or meat and sancocho.” Along with eating traditional meals, she likes to listen to Latino musio, including Julio Iglesias and the Dominican merengue.

Torres said her family’s celebration continues throughout the month of September. “I celebrate with my husband from Italy, my children, and my immediate family,” she said. “It’s a family tradition I feel proud of. ”