In the middle of September the United States begins a month long celebration of the Hispanic heritage. The month long period is dedicated to all those who have ancestors coming from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.

The Hispanic heritage has been celebrated every year in our country, from September 15th to October 15th, since 1988 when Ronald Reagan made this month official and enacted it into law. The 30 day time period was meant to celebrate the Hispanic culture and the contributions of influential Hispanic Americans.

This month long celebration also covers the day many Hispanic countries celebrate their independence. Hispanic heritage month begins on the Independence Days of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua, a total of five Hispanic countries. Mexico also celebrates their Independence Day during this time on September 16th and Costa Rica also celebrates their independence on September 18th.

In Sacramento County this month is dedicated to the 306,000 Hispanic residents that make up approximately 22% of the population according to the 2010 census. With more than 1 in 5 local people identifying themselves as Hispanic, their heritage is a very important part of the fabric of our community.

“America has always drawn its strength from the contributions of a diverse people. Throughout our Nation, Hispanics are advancing our economy, improving our communities, and bettering our country,” President Obama noted during his recent proclamation kicking the month off.

Hispanics have shown this nation the value of hard work today in preparation for a better tomorrow. Locally organizations such as Sol Collective and La Familia provide the youth with opportunities to learn and celebrate their heritage.