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Leaving a legacy for generations: The history behind Hispanic Heritage Month

Hispanic Heritage Month runs from Sept. 15 through Oct. 15.

TAMPA, Fla. — No matter where we're from, Hispanic Heritage Month is meant for us to celebrate.

It all started in 1968 when President Lyndon B. Johnson created Hispanic Heritage Week. In 1988, President Ronald Reagan expanded it to 30 days.  

It begins on Sept. 15 and goes through Oct. 15.

“Our mayors [here in Tampa Bay] celebrate it a little bit longer,” says Maribel Garrett, the Hispanic liaison for the city of Tampa. “They say that September, October and November, are to celebrate Hispanic heritage, which is amazing.”

The month is an opportunity to illustrate the rich contributions and the continued impact of the Hispanic community.

“For many, many years, the Hispanic community was perhaps seen as less than, and I think, as a community, we are working to change that,” said Garrett. “We want to really make an effort to recognize those individuals who are doing something for our community, those who are going above and beyond to have an impact all throughout.”

It all starts in the middle of the month because Sept. 15 is the anniversary of independence for Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. It also begins the same week Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days.

“It really is a fun way to recognize who we are, where we are coming, where we have come from, and really start thinking about where we're going and the legacy that we leave for the generations behind,” Garrett said.

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