Driving Prosperity, Power and Progress

National Hispanic Heritage Month is observed in the United States each year from September 15 to October 15, to recognize and celebrate the achievements of individuals of Hispanic heritage. Americans celebrate the histories, cultures and narratives of those whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America and South America and honor the contributions they have made to our local, national and global communities.

The observation started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under U.S. President, Lyndon Johnson. In 1988, President Ronald Reagan expanded the recognition to extend for the duration of a month. The date 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 September 18, respectively.

The national theme for Hispanic Heritage Month 2023 is Latinos: Driving Prosperity, Power, and Progress in America. The three interconnected themes recognize the significant strides of Hispanics in the economic, political and social growth of the United States.

See how staff at Stevenson celebrate their Hispanic heritage. 

Recognized Nationally, Celebrated Locally

According to the United States Census Bureau, the Hispanic population of the United States was 63.7 million as of July 1, 2022, making people of Hispanic origin the nation’s largest racial or ethnic minority — 19.1% of the total population.

“National Hispanic Heritage Month is an important reminder of how much strength we draw as a nation from our immigrant roots and our values as a nation of immigrants.”

From The American Presidency Project: Proclamation 10257 — National Hispanic Heritage Month, 2021, President Joseph R. Biden Jr.

According to 2020 U.S. Census data, 13% of Washington state residents identify as Hispanic or Latinx. Latino cultural heritage in the Pacific Northwest dates to 1774, when Spanish and Mexican explorers discovered and mapped the Northwest coast calling the region Nueva Galicia after Spain’s rugged northwest coast. Place names like the San Juan Islands and the Strait of Juan de Fuca also acknowledge the legacy of this exploration.

Hispanic American Heritage Month is celebrated across the country and locally in a multitude of ways. Concerts, parades, food fairs and more are organized to help bring communities together. Events like art exhibitions and book readings celebrate the contributions of Hispanic authors and artists.

Throughout the month, BSD schools will offer opportunities for students and families to take part in celebrations at their school. Stay tuned to BSD social media channels to learn more about school and community events.

Students from Lake Hills celebrate notable Hispanic figures.

adults with dia de los muertos spread

Teachers from Highland Middle School take part in their Dia de Los Muertos celebration.

Students from Lake Hills celebrate notable Hispanic figures.

The Bellevue School District acknowledges that we learn, work, live and gather on the Indigenous Land of the Coast Salish peoples, specifically the Duwamish and Snoqualmie Tribes. We thank these caretakers of this land, who have lived and continue to live here, since time immemorial.