Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage month from September 15 – 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. 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.
The 2018 Hispanic Heritage Month theme: “Hispanics: One Endless Voice to Enhance our Traditions” invites us to reflect on Hispanic American’s tradition, history and culture that continue to help enrich the fabric of America. The contributions of Hispanics expands across all areas of STEM, military service, politics, healthcare, art, entertainment, entrepreneurship and beyond.
As we recognize Hispanic Heritage Month, I want to take this opportunity to reinforce our commitment to equal opportunity, diversity and inclusion and thank all of NASA’s Hispanic Special Emphasis Program Managers that are passionately working to promote equal opportunity for Hispanics in all aspects of employment and that actions are taken to address barriers to full participation and inclusion. Additionally, I want to recognize all of NASA’s Hispanic Employee Resource Groups for serving as strategic partners to promote a culture of equal opportunity, diversity and inclusion.
In commemoration of National Hispanic Heritage Month, I invite all employees to frequent the ODEO blog to get information on various activities across NASA and to participate in events in your communities.
Steve Shih, Esq.
Office of Diversity and Equal Opportunity