Throughout Florida’s history, many Hispanic leaders have made great contributions to the Hispanic community and helped our state become what it is today – a place known for its rich culture, vast history and dynamic people. At the Department of Education, we are proud to celebrate Hispanic history during Hispanic Heritage Month, September 15 to October 15.
Although I am not currently instructing students in the classroom, I will always be an educator at heart, so I want to provide a brief history lesson in this post. September 15 was chosen as the starting point for Hispanic Heritage Month because it is the anniversary of independence of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September 18 respectively.
The observation first began in 1968 when President Lyndon B. Johnson and the U.S. Congress declared Hispanic Heritage Week in September. Twenty years later, President Ronald Reagan extended the week to a 30-day period.
For as long as we all can remember, Florida has been known as the Gateway to Latin America. The food, music and traditions provide a critical link between the United States and South America. These strong relations with South America enable Florida to exercise a unique model of two-way trade, greatly promoting economic growth.
We are working every day to prepare Florida students to compete in a global economy, and Hispanic Heritage Month provides educators and parents an exciting opportunity to expand our students’ knowledge of the world in we which all live and work.
I hope that our state’s educators will take advantage of this observance and bring Hispanic history into the classroom. For more information on Florida’s celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, visit www.floridahispanicheritage.org