Fill in the blank: You should celebrate Hispanic Heritage month because…

 Angelina Padilla - Tompkins of Washington, IL has been celebrating her Hispanic heritage since a young age.

Ron Johnson/ Journal Star

Angelina Padilla – Tompkins of Washington, IL has been celebrating her Hispanic heritage since a young age.

By Angelina Padilla-Tompkins, Opinion Columnist

What began as a week’s worth of celebrations was declared to be a month-long celebration by President Ronald Reagan in 1988, according to the Government Publishing Office

Hispanic Heritage month takes place from Sept. 15 and Oct. 15. It is a month of celebration that honors the history, culture and influence of past generations, including those from Spain, México, Central and South America and the Caribbean. 

These specific dates were chosen because Sept. 15 marks the anniversary of independence for five hispanic countries: Costa Rica, Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua and El Salvador. Additionally, México’s independence day is Sept. 16 and Chile’s is Sept. 18. 

Instead of celebrating Columbus Day on Oct. 12, México celebrates Día de la Raza (Race Day) on Oct. 12. 

“This holiday celebrates and honors the many countries and people that were conquered by Spain and European explorers,” according to Imagine Mexico. “It is a day of recognition and honor to the people, traditions and cultures that were destroyed by European colonization.”

The hispanic population is the second fastest growing population in America, as they account for 19% of the U.S. population, as reported by the Pew Research Center

Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated through festivals, parties, parades, art shows, concerts, conferences and much more. 

NIU held its own parade Sept. 15, hosted by the Latino Resource Center. There will also be several other events open to all students to partake in honoring hispanic heritage such as virtual conferences, movie conferences, loteria night and Noche de gala (gala night). 

This is the time to commemorate the hard-working generations before us and the continuing growing population.