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Latino Heritage Month

Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to 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. The week-long celebration was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period starting on September 15 and ending on October 15.

September 15 is significant because it is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Also, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September 18, respectively. In addition, Columbus Day, or Día de la Raza, is October 12, falling within the celebration month.

Pacific's Latino Heritage Month celebration started in 2005 by the director of Multicultural Affairs and a group of students. Since its inception, the annual, University-wide celebration has featured a number of prominent speakers, including Rigoberta Menchu, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, Cesar Gaviria, the former president of Colombia, and Dolores Huerta, labor activist and co-founder of the United Farm Workers.

2013 Latino Heritage Month Celebration

Pacific's Latino Heritage Month celebration will feature two very special art exhibits in the Reynolds Gallery. Several films, a performance of Ballet Folklorico and "Los Tres Musicos" and other special events will fill out the month

"Escape from Fantasylandia: An Illegal Alien's Survival Guide" is an exhibit of the work of Enrique Chagoya, whose art integrates diverse elements from pre-Columbian mythology, western religious iconography and American popular culture. The exhibition runs August 27-September 20, with an artist talk from 6-7 p.m. on September 13, followed by a reception in the Reynolds Art Gallery.

Looking Back at the Bracero Program 

Bracero in the Field from the Smithsonian exhibit

The second exhibit, and the cornerstone event for this year's celebration is an exhibit on loan from the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History in Washinton D.C., "Bittersweet Harvest: The Bracero Program 1942-1964." This moving new bilingual exhibition examines the experiences of bracero workers and their families, providing rich insight into Mexican American history and historical background to today's debates on guest worker programs. Consisting of 15 freestanding, illustrated banners, the exhibition combines recent scholarship, powerful photographs from the Smithsonian's collection, and audio excerpts from oral histories contributed by former contract workers. The exhibit runds from September 24-October 25 in Reynolds Gallery. On September 27, there will be a reception honoring surviving braceros from the local community, which will include a bilingual faculty lecture on the history of the bracero program.

Don't miss any of these wonderful opportunities to celebrate Latino Heritage and Culture.

Download the 2013 Latino Heritage Month Flyer

Check out Latino Heritage Month Events at Calendar.Pacific.edu