Hispanic Heritage Month in full swing

Photo courtesy Marymount California University

“It is imperative that we are fearlessly proud of our heritage. With the current political climate and the dehumanization of our community in the media, it is so important to empower our community in their identity and show the world how beautiful our cultures are,” said Sarah Fullerton, an active member of the Central American Student Union organization at Florida State University.

Hispanic Heritage Month, which began Sept. 15 and runs through Oct. 15,  celebrates the culture and history of American citizens with ancestors from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.  Also, it is to honor Christopher Columbus and his expedition to the Americas on Oct. 12, 1492.

Proclamation of Hispanic Heritage Month for Leon County. Photo Submitted by Loren Lyonsua, Mexico and Chile, celebrate their independence on Sept. 15, 16 and 18. Originally it was known as Hispanic Heritage Week in 1968; in 1988 it was extended to cover 30 days.

Additionally, Latin American and Hispanic countries like Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua.

Sabrina Cardenas, treasurer of the Hispanic student organization UNIDOS, shared that the organization will be celebrating the month by educating students on the history and culture of the Hispanic community. On Oct. 8 the organization plans on hosting an event to teach students three cultural dances: salsa, merengue and bachata.

Their faculty advisor, Jorge Olaves, has had a major role in advocating for Hispanic Heritage Month to be recognized in the state of Florida.  Hanging on his wall is the proclamation letter from the state, officially recognizing Sept. 15-Oct. 15 as Hispanic Heritage Month.

According to Olaves, he founded the North Florida Spanish Association and they were the ones to push for the proclamation. He is passionate about educating students on the rich Hispanic history.

“My objective is education and supporting our students to advance in their career,” he said.

Outside of the student organization Florida First Lady Casey DeSantis is taking initiative in celebrating the month with the theme “celebrating public service,” set to honor Hispanic leaders who have contributed to public services. By doing so, she has launched a student contest for grades K-12. Students in grades K-3 are invited to participate in the art contest while students in 4-12 can participate in the essay contest. Furthermore, students, parents, teachers and principals are encouraged to nominate a full-time educator for the Hispanic Heritage Month Excellence in Education Award.