Students express culture, identity during Hispanic Heritage Month


Calista Robeledo / Hilltop Views

Isabel Herrera holds Mexican Flag in honor of her parents from Mexico.

National Hispanic Heritage Month began on Sept. 15 and lasts until  Oct. 15. This month of celebration  commemorates the history, culture and contributions of American’s with Spanish, South and Central American and Caribbean ancestry.

The celebration began under President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1968 with National Hispanic Heritage Week, but President Ronald Reagan expanded the celebration from one week to an entire month in 1988. The dates chosen for Hispanic Heritage Month are historically significant as various Latin countries celebrate their independence day within this time period. Sept. 15 is Independence Day for El Salvador, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Honduras. Mexico’s lands on Sept. 16, while Chile’s is on Sept. 18

There is  a central theme of diversity and pride among Hispanic students on the Hilltop. Marian Gomez thinks that Hispanic Heritage Month is important to the U.S because “Our nation shows how we are open to diversity and how we are accepting.”

Nicolás Marín, an international student from Chile,  recently learned about Hispanic Heritage Month in the U.S.

“It is just as important as any heritage month,” Marín said. “I think that it’s good to honor the different heritages and different ethnicities that are present in this country since this country is so diverse.”

Aside from the ever present diversity within the U.S, Hispanic Heritage Month also serves to acknowledge the diversity within Hispanic/Latinx communities. Sussy Tellez Pantoja, President of Monarchs on the Hilltop,  celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month by spreading positivity.

“All my fellow Hispanic/Latinx community as valid, even though we may come from different countries, have a different skin color or speak a different language,” Pantoja said.

There are various assumptions about Hispanic/Latinx people. For instance, many assume all Hispanics in the U.S are Mexican, but that is not the case. The term Hispanic is defined as someone who descends from a Spanish-apeaking country, while the term Latinx is someone who descends from a country in Latin America. Additionally, the terms Chicano/Chincana/Chincanx refer to  someone of  Mexican descent who  lives in the U.S.

Another way Hispanics on the Hilltop have celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month is by embracing the unity of their people. Marín admires the warmth Hispanic people have between each other.

“It’s a culture that’s a little bit more unified. I think that’s a great quality of it,” he said.

For student Isabel Herrera, this warmth translates to the love people have for their families and their pride in who they are,

“This past month, my mom and I just moved from El Paso to San Marcos and Austin respectively, so now we get together to celebrate with family on Dieciséis De Septiembre,” Herrera shared.

Ilse Schumm celebrates by simply being proud of who she is.

“I don’t think I need to have a month to always be proud of my culture, but having one makes it more special.”