This year's annual national recognition of the achievements and contributions of the country's Hispanics comes amid continuously accelerating prominence for the U.S. Hispanic economy.
Originally authorized by Congress in 1968 as National Hispanic Heritage Week, the recognition was expanded to a month two decades later beginning every September 15, which marks the anniversary of independence of five Latin American countries – Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico marks the anniversary of its independence on September 16, and Chile on September 18.
Today, about 40 million Hispanics in the United States account for about 13.5 percent of the population, make up about 13 percent of the total labor force, and wield nearly $700 billion in purchasing power. And that influence is projected to continue growing. HispanTelligence, the research services division of Hispanic Business Inc., estimates that by 2030, U.S. Hispanics will account for more than 20 percent of the population, more than 19 percent of the total labor force, and more than $1 trillion in purchasing power. SEPTEMBER 10 The Hispanic Heritage Awards Foundation presents its annual awards ceremony, honoring Hispanics in art, literature, sports, leadership, and education. Emilio Estefan will produce the 2004 Hispanic Heritage Awards ceremony, and Bruce Gowers – best known for his work on American Idol and The American Music Awards – will direct. The event will be televised September 18 by NBC, and in Spanish on Telemundo later this month. For more information, call (202) 861-9797, or visit the group's Web site at www.hispanicheritageawards.org. SEPTEMBER 13 – 14 The Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute's 2004 Issues Conference takes place at the Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. As part of the two-day conference, CHCI invites Hispanic leaders to address conference participants during a keynote lunch each day. For more information, contact CHCI at (202) 543-1771, or visit the group's Web site at www.chci.org. SEPTEMBER 14 "Celebra la Ciencia" (Celebrate Science) takes place at the New Mexico State Fair. Local museums and educational institutions will collaborate to expose students to science through a variety of performances, activities, exhibits, and demonstrations. Event includes contributions from the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, Lodestar Astronomy Center, National Atomic Museum, and the University of New Mexico. For more information, contact Maddie Zeigler of the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science at (505) 841-2857, or visit the event's Web site at www.celebralaciencia.org.
SEPTEMBER 15 – OCTOBER 15 The Smithsonian Institution is celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month with special programs, lectures, and musical events. An array of U.S.- and foreign-produced films will be screened as part of the National Latino Film Festival, which also runs throughout the month. For more information, call (202) 357-2700. SEPTEMBER 15 The Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute's 27th Annual Gala will be held at the Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. During the evening's festivities, CHCI will honor Hispanics who have demonstrated unwavering commitment to empowering the Hispanic community. For more information, call CHCI at (202) 543-1771, or visit the group's Web site at www.chci.org.
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