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Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month

Hispanic Heritage Month celebrates the history, culture, and contributions of the U.S. Latinx and Hispanic communities. This month offers a time for Americans with roots in Hispanic countries and cultures to honor their heritage and to recognize the impact these cultures have had on American society as we know it today. 

The month-long celebration, observed annually from September 15th to October 15th, actually began as a week-long commemoration in 1968 first introduced by California Congressman George E. Brown. The push for recognition of the Hispanic and Latinx communities grew as the civil rights movement reached its peak in the 1960s and Brown was a driving force in requesting President Lyndon B. Johnson issue an annual proclamation of this event. Congress passed the request to law on September 17, 1968, declaring that September 15th marks the start of National Hispanic Heritage Week. In 1987 California Representative Esteban E. Torres proposed expanding the commemorative week to its current 31-day period to allow for adequate time to properly observe and honor the recognition. 

The timing of Hispanic Heritage Month, beginning in mid-September, may at first appear to be adventitious, however, the timeframe was intentionally selected as it coincides with the Independence Day celebrations of several Latin American nations making it that much more meaningful and honorary of these cultures. 

Whether you are Hispanic or are of Latinx heritage, or you simply wish to celebrate the contributions and achievements of the culture, there are many ways for you to show your support. Charity Navigator has pulled together a list of 5 highly-rated nonprofit organizations who are instrumental in educating, promoting, protecting, and uplifting the Hispanic and Latinx community. 


LatinoJustice PRLDEF ☆☆☆☆

LatinoJustice works to create a more just society by using and challenging the rule of law to secure transformative, equitable and accessible justice, by empowering our community and by fostering leadership through advocacy and education.

UnidosUS ☆☆☆☆

Founded in 1968, UnidosUS is the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States and works to improve opportunities for Hispanic Americans. Through its network of nearly 300 affiliated community-based organizations, UnidosUS reaches millions of Hispanics each year in 41 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia. To achieve its mission, UnidosUS conducts applied research, policy analysis, and advocacy, providing a Latino perspective in five key areas: assets/investments, civil rights/immigration, education, employment and economic status, and health. In addition, it provides capacity-building assistance to its affiliates who work at the state and local level to advance opportunities for individuals and families.

Voto Latino ☆☆☆

Voto Latino is a pioneering civic media organization that seeks to transform America by recognizing Latinos' innate leadership. Through innovative digital campaigns, pop culture, and grassroots voices, we provide culturally relevant programs that engage, educate, and empower Latinos to be agents of change. Together, we aim to build a stronger and more inclusive democracy. In 2004, Voto Latino began as a PSA project organized by co-founder Rosario Dawson. Over the years we've evolved into an organization dedicated to providing young Latinos the tools to create a future of their choosing.

Human Services

Sociedad Latina ☆☆☆☆

Since 1968, Sociedad Latina has worked in partnership with Latino youth and families to end destructive cycles of poverty, health inequities, and lack of educational and professional opportunities in our community. Through our Pathways to Success model we pioneer new and innovative solutions to the most pressing issues facing Latino youth today, supporting positive youth development from age 11-21, creating a community that supports young people, and training all youth to advocate for themselves and their communities.

Mujeres Latinas en Acción ☆☆☆

Founded in 1973, "Mujeres Latinas en Acción (Mujeres) empowers Latinas by providing services which reflect their values and culture and by being an advocate on the issues that make a difference in their lives." With this mission and the needs of the community always at the forefront, Mujeres provides high-quality, client-centered, bilingual/bicultural human services addressing critical issues such as domestic violence and sexual assault, leadership and youth development, positive parent support, and economic self-sufficiency. Mujeres also acts as a leading advocate on critical issues to ensure that the voices of those in the communities served are recognized among local and national lawmakers.

Committee for Hispanic Children & Families ☆☆☆

Founded in 1982, CHCF is a Latino organization in New York that combines direct service with policy work that amplifies minority voices at the local, state, and national levels to advocate for education equity. CHCF combines education, capacity-building, and advocacy to strengthen the support system and continuum of learning for children and youth. Our vision is for a future where Latino children, youth, and families have equitable access to opportunities to succeed, are empowered to realize their full potential and are affirmed in their culture.


Hispanic Scholarship Fund ☆☆☆☆

The Hispanic Scholarship Fund (HSF) provides scholarships to Latino students, as well as related support services. HSF seeks to give students all the tools they need to apply to college, do well in their course work, graduate, enter a profession, excel, help lead our nation going forward, and mentor the generations to come.

Museum of Latin American Art ☆☆☆

The Museum of Latin American Art's mission is to educate the public about contemporary Latin American fine art created by artists who have lived and worked in Latin America since World War II, through the presentation of a significant permanent collection, dynamic exhibitions and related cultural and educational programs. Founded by Dr. Robert Gumbiner in November 1996, it is the only museum in the western United States that exclusively features contemporary Latin American art. Through the utilization of its permanent collection, traveling exhibitions, and programs, the Museum educates a diverse Southern California audience about contemporary Latin American art.

Written by Amanda Knox, Marketing & Communications Assistant at Charity Navigator

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