Hispanic Heritage Month is a federally designated event that runs Sept. 15 to Oct. 15. It’s a time to celebrate how people with roots in Spanish-speaking countries add to the complex narrative of the American story.
Hispanic food, fashion, architecture and art – as well as the Spanish language itself – have become essential elements in the American mix. Sometimes those contributions make a pop-culture splash. The song "Despacito" tied Billboard’s record for most weeks at the top spot after Justin Bieber remixed Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee’s reggaeton hit. Other contributions come from teachers, doctors and families whose contributions grab less attention than athletes and movie stars.
Such stories unfold in Georgia each day. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates about 10% of the state population identifies as Hispanic. That means they have family roots in Spanish-speaking countries, including Spain. The modern term, “Latinx,” is a gender-neutral way of referring to people who are Latino or Latina – i.e. people whose family trees extend from Latin America. The Latin American Association says, looking at the population under that definition, it grew by 96% from 2000 to 2010.
Along with that diversity, Georgia sees its share of tension and debate – and even xenophobia.
On Second Thought is marking Hispanic Heritage Month, in all its complexity, with a round table of leaders. Mario Guevara is senior reporter for Mundo Hispánico. Jerry Gonzalez is founder and executive director of GALEO, the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials. Nury Castillo Crawford is author of 3,585 Miles to be an American Girl and head of the Hispanic Mentoring Program for Gwinnett County Schools. Rep. Brenda Lopez Romero is based in Norcross in Gwinnett County.
You can join la fiesta! Events are taking place all over the state for Hispanic Heritage Month.
- GALEO will celebrate with a luncheon Oct. 4.
- A free festival will take place Oct. 13 in Conyers.
- Schools like the University of North Georgia are holding various events on campus.
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