SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated every year from September 15 to October 15 to recognize the histories, cultures, and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America, and South America.

According to the Library of Congress, the observation started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period starting on September 15 and ending on October 15. It was enacted into law on August 17, 1988, on the approval of Public Law 100-402.

The day of September 15th is significant because it is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries such as Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16th and September 18th, respectively. Also, Columbus Day or Día de la Raza, which is October 12th, falls within this 30 day period.

Silvia Castro, executive director of the Suazo Business Center joined ABC4’s Rosie Nguyen on the CW30 News at 7 p.m. for an IN FOCUS discussion. She talked about why it’s important to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, her thoughts on the immigration situation in our country, the misconceptions and stereotypes that still exist about Hispanic/Latino Americans, their contributions and economic impact to the state, and what she suggests for Utahns who want to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month.

Andrea Hernandez, program coordinator for Weber State University’s Women’s Center shared what Hispanic Heritage Month means to her, which Hispanic/Latinx figures inspired her, the difference between Hispanic and Latinx, how Hispanic and Latinx history is woven into the fabric of U.S. history, and the unique differences that exist between the ethnicities under the Hispanic/Latinx categorization.

Eulogio Alejandre, board chair serving Northern Utah for Latinos United Promoting Education and Civic Engagement (LUPEC) discussed what his organization does, what Hispanic Heritage Month means to him, which Hispanic/Latinx figures inspired him, why people living in the U.S. should celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, the challenges and barriers that still exist for this community, and the celebrations that are taking place in the state this month.

To watch the full IN FOCUS discussion with Castro, Hernandez, and Alejandre, click on the video at the top of the article.

Catch IN FOCUS discussions with ABC4’s Rosie Nguyen weeknights on the CW30 News at 7 p.m.

Rosie Nguyen is an award-winning journalist who joined the ABC4 News team as a reporter in January 2018. In September 2020, she embarked on a new journey as the anchor for the CW30 News at 7 p.m. Although she’s not out in the field anymore, she is continuing her passion for social justice and community issues through the nightly “In Focus” discussions.