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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 Sept. 15 and ending Oct. 15.

Sept. 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 Sept. 16 and Sept. 18, respectively. In addition, Columbus Day, or Día de la Raza, is Oct. 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.