Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month


September 15 began the celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month in the United States. On August 17, 1988, President Ronald Reagan expanded what had been a weeklong tradition to an official month-long celebration. National Hispanic Heritage Month now takes place every year from September 15 to October 15.

The Hispanic influence is reflected in the daily life of this country and is embodied in its traditions, language, tastes, music and art. Hispanic Heritage Month represents an opportunity to honor this influence, as well as to highlight Latino achievements and contributions to U.S. history in various fields, such as arts and culture, economics, politics, athletics, and science.

When I came to this country in 2005, I never imagined that there would be a month celebrating the culture of the varied Latino community in the United States. Over the years I’ve spent in the Washington metropolitan area, I have seen that our contributions are not only linked to different culinary tastes but also to daily routines. The language, traditions, commitment, respect—and the kindness of our people—is felt in the heart of this nation.

This year, I am thrilled to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month as part of the great team at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, the country’s only museum to tell the nation’s story through the individuals who have shaped its culture. In the past two years, the museum has acquired more than eighty works of art highlighting Latino figures in U.S. history or featuring Hispanic portrait artists.

Personally, as a Venezuelan, I don’t think there is better way to celebrate and honor our community than to be part of a team that is working to achieve the representation of Hispanics in history and art. I invite you to visit the National Portrait Gallery and learn more about Latinos who have made history in the United States and who are displayed in our galleries: Roberto Clemente, the first Latinoplayer to be inducted into the BaseballHall of Fame; Dolores Huerta, a labor leader and civil rights activist; Luis Muñoz Marín, the first democratically elected governor of Puerto Rico; Sonia Sotomayor, the first Latina Supreme Court Justice in U.S. history; and many more.

¡Celebra con nosotros este Mes de la Herencia Hispana!


Marielba Alvarez, Public Affairs Associate