KUSA- It's a focus on the fabric of a culture: a varied combination of food, music and history, coming together from September 15 to October 15. Hispanic Heritage Month marks four weeks, which are meant to coincide with the independence days of more than a half-dozen Latin American countries, including Mexico, Chile and Costa Rica.
"I think the big thing is to try to recognize the culture of folks of Hispanic/Latino origin and the types of contributions they've made to the United States," said Carlos Hipolito-Delgado, an associate professor at CU Denver's School of Education and Human Development.
Hipolito-Delgado specializes in the study of ethnic identities.
"When we acknowledge it as a month, it kind of forces it, it kind of brings it to the forefront," Hipolito-Delgado said.
Hispanics have been a part of Denver from its earliest days, including settling in what was then the Auraria neighborhood, where a few of the city's oldest homes still stand.
"It really exemplifies America because it was a history of immigrants, from all over," said Gregorio Alcaro, an Auraria Historian.
Hispanic Heritage Month began as one week in 1968 under President Lyndon Johnson. Twenty years later, President Ronald Reagan made it a full month and it was enacted into law.
Hipolito-Delgado said many years later – the month that celebrates Hispanic heritage also helps encourage a sharing of all our cultures.
"Learn about your own, that's important- but learn about other cultures as well," Hipolito-Delgado said. "That's going to make you a better professional and, overall, a better human being."
Throughout this month, Belen de Leon and I will be bringing you unique stories about Hispanics here in Colorado. Some of those stories look back at their past contributions to the state, while others focus on those who are having an impact right now. Those stories will run on 9NEWS on Saturday and Sunday, starting September 21st.
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