News Column

Celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month

Sept. 14, 2012

Staff --

Hispanic Heritage Month

The Library of Congress has a website dedicated to National Hispanic Heritage Month. The site, which fittingly brings U.S. Hispanics up to date with electronic access to the library's many online resources, is designed and formatted to fit on a smaller, tablet-sized screen. The website opens with a note about Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15-Oct. 15), "celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America."

The introduction reminds visitors to the site that official recognition of Hispanic-Americans began in 1968, when Lyndon B. Johnson was president. The national observance was expanded 20 years later by President Ronald Reagan to cover a 30-day period and enacted as public law on Aug. 17, 1988.

"The day of September 15 is significant because it is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua," the intro explains. "In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September 18, respectively."

Related: Biden Calls US Hispanics 'Most Powerful Force' in Politics

The Law Library of Congress offers a separate dedicated web home page to the month-long celebration with a detailed summary of the law and a PDF link to the actual text of Pub. 90-498, "which authorized and requested the President to issue an annual proclamation designating" the period as National Hispanic Heritage Week.

The overview explains that each president, from Nixon, Ford and Carter to Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, issued proclamations to celebrate the "contributions to America of men and women of Hispanic origin as well as recalling the work of the early Spanish explorers and settlers." The text goes on to note that as recently as Sept. 18, 2009, President Obama issued Presidential Proclamation 8417, and provides a PDF link to the public law honoring the accomplishment of Hispanic-Americans.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services also highlights National Hispanic Heritage Month online with its opening page to the Office of Minority Health (OMH). The site offers links to the recent 2011 "Proclamation by the President of the United States of America" and "The History of Hispanic Heritage Month."

In addition to the OMH's tribute to the annual celebration, the opening page offers an appropriate transition into news links relevant to Hispanics including a fact sheet on the Department of Health and Human Services commitment to public health.

Source: (c) 2012. All rights reserved.

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