During Hispanic Heritage Month, we recognize the contributions made and the important presence and impact of Hispanic and Latino Americans in our community and nation. Through strong commitment to family, faith and hard work Latinos have enhanced and shaped our national character with centuries-old traditions that reflect the multiethnic and multicultural customs of their community.
Hispanic Heritage Month celebrates the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Puerto Rico, Mexico, the Caribbean, Central and South America, or other Spanish cultures. This year’s national theme is “Hispanic Americans: A History of Serving Our Nation.” The theme invites us to reflect on Hispanic American’s service and impact on the history of our Nation.
The roots of Hispanic Heritage Month go back to 1968. Each year on September 15, the anniversary of independence of five Latin American countries is recognized: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Mexico, Chile and Belize also celebrate their independence days during this period. The observation started in 1968 under President Lyndon Johnson as Hispanic Heritage Week, and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period.
The Hispanic population of the United States now totals more than 57.5 million people, the second-largest racial or ethnic group in the U.S. In Norwalk, Spanish language and culture are an integral part of family life. Hispanic students accounted for nearly 50 percent of the Norwalk Public Schools population as of January 2019.
Approximately 87 percent of the 1,946 English Language Learners enrolled in the Norwalk Public Schools program are Spanish speaking.
By declaring this Hispanic Heritage Month, the Board of Education encourages all schools to bring an appreciation and understanding of others’ cultures and languages into the lives of our young children, and share in this annual tribute by celebrating the generations of Hispanic Americans who have positively influenced our city and country.