By Annabelle Estrada
Everyone knows when Black History Month is, right? February.
What about National Hispanic Heritage Month?
While many may know when it is, too many aren’t aware or don’t remember because of its unconventional time frame.
National Hispanic Heritage Month is from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15. Yes, you read that right.
National Hispanic Heritage Month initially started as National Hispanic Heritage Week, signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson in 1968. It was purposely celebrated around the time when several Latin American countries happen to celebrate their independence, in mid-September.
Two decades later, it was expanded to a full month of celebration by President Ronald Reagan, but that month was still scheduled to start the same time as the original National Hispanic Heritage Week in mid-September. Thus, National Hispanic Heritage Month became Sept. 15 to Oct. 15.
Not celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month in one specific month dilutes the message and prevents full appreciation and recognition of the positive impact Latinos have had on this country. It’s hard to celebrate a heritage month right when it spans two months.
Imagine someone inviting you to their birthday party, and when you ask them when it is, they say, “Oh, today or tomorrow.” Well, which is it?
As a marketing student at UTEP, we were taught that consistency was key for a successful marketing strategy. This inconsistent time frame may be a reason for the lack of awareness and enthusiasm. The contributions of Latinos to American society are vast and deserve to be commemorated in a more cohesive way.
Now, more than ever, Latinos deserve to feel recognized and appreciated. The hearts of Latinos are bruised after some particularly difficult years full of indignities: being called rapists, murderers and drug dealers, the “Build The Wall” chants, children in cages, the El Paso massacre, and finally, being disproportionately affected by the coronavirus.
As a Latina, I’m feeling a bit invisible lately, and I know I am not the only one. That’s one of the reasons why I am proposing this initiative to help make Latinos more visible in the future.
Although we don’t need a specific month to celebrate our proud heritage, let’s bring a little bit of reason to an unreasonable world. Let’s make National Hispanic Heritage Month Sept. 1-30 to establish a united message and make it easier for people to educate, remember and observe. This way, there will be no doubt when National Hispanic Heritage Month is.
If you agree, please consider signing this online petition.
For now, whatever the time frame, let’s celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month more than ever, even if it is while social distancing.
Annabelle Estrada is a native El Pasoan and a graduate of the University of Texas at El Paso.