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Celebrating Hispanic Heritage

Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15, by celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.  During National Hispanic Heritage Month, we celebrate the countless contributions of more than 60 million Hispanic Americans to our culture and society. Hispanic Americans are the largest minority group in the United States today.

The observation started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period starting on September 15 and ending on October 15. It was enacted into law on August 17, 1988, on the approval of Public Law 100-402.

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. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September18, respectively. Also, Columbus Day or Día de la Raza, which is October 12, falls within this 30 day period.

National Hispanic Heritage Month celebrates a diverse group of people. They trace their roots to Spain and other Spanish-speaking countries in North America, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean.

By the Numbers

  • Depending on how you count, there are 22 Spanish speaking countries in the world.
  • Spanish is the second most widely spoken language on the planet. The number of Spanish speakers worldwide has soared to 572 million, which includes native and non-native speakers.
  • Around 754 million people are expected to speak the Spanish language globally by 2050, report shows.
  • According to the official US census, the United States will have the highest number of Spanish speakers in the world after Mexico by 2060, and around 28.6% of the population will be Hispanic.
  • Texas’ Hispanic population on pace to be the largest share of the state by 2021.

At GISD, we proudly celebrate the Hispanic culture of many of our students and families.  For many years, the Hispanic Heritage Night was celebrated in October, bringing the community into our schools for a night of dancing, authentic food, and singing. Beginning as a celebration at Edison Elementary, the event morphed into one of our largest, and most prideful celebrations. In addition, it grew along with the two-way dual language program, into one involving Chalmers students and families as well and outgrew the facilities. Due to COVID, the event was moved to a true community event in 2021 and became a celebration around Cinco de Mayo.  On May 8th, the first annual Fiesta Night was held at the Gainesville Farmer's Market.  The event was a collaborative effort between GISD and the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce.  We look forward to the 2021 celebration on Saturday, April 30th.