Celebrating Spanish Heritage Month

Celebrating Spanish Heritage Month
Celebrating Spanish Heritage MonthFrom September 15 to October 15, we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month. This month long celebration highlights people of Latin ancestry, heritage, and culture, and their significant contributions in the United States.

Some of us may be familiar with several famous Latin Americans, from Sonia Sotomayor, the first person of Hispanic descent to serve as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court; or Jorge Ramos, the Mexican-born American journalist and author who was dubbed by Time magazine as one of its "100 most influential people in the world" in 2015; to Ellen Ochoa, an American engineer, physicist, and former astronaut who became the first Hispanic woman to go to space in 1993; and Jaime Escalante, the Bolivian-born math teacher who inspired a nation by showing us that inner-city students could master subjects like calculus, whose story was chronicled in the film “Stand and Deliver.” Others may be lesser known but have made bi-cultural and bilingual impactful and significant contributions in our nation’s history.

In addition to teaching about present-day and historical figures, Hispanic Heritage Month also serves as an opportunity for educators to introduce their students to new cultural practices, or to honor those that students may already practice.

Viewed through the lens of equity, it’s vital to teach our students about the contributions of Hispanic Americans from an educational perspective, but from an economic one as well. People of Hispanic descent will represent one in three American workers in just a few decades.

I will leave you with a quotation from Justice Sotomayor, “Until we get equality in education, we won't have an equal society.”

Dr. Lamont O. Repollet
NJ Commissioner of Education
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