Today kicks off Hispanic Heritage Month, an annual celebration in the United States that recognizes the contributions Americans tracing their roots to Spain, Mexico, Central America, South American and the Spanish-speaking nations of the Caribbean have made to American society and culture.

According to the U.S. Census, the Hispanic population of the United States is 60.6 million as of July 2019, making people of Hispanic origin the nation’s largest ethnic or racial minority. Hispanics constituted 18.5% of the nation’s total population.

Celebrating Hispanics in the United States began in 1968 when the U.S. Congress authorized the president to issue an annual proclamation designating National Hispanic Heritage Week, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Just two decades later, lawmakers expanded it to a month-long celebration, stretching from September 15 to October 15.

September 15 is also a historically significant day marking the anniversary of independence of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua, that took place on September 15, 1821. Hispanic Heritage Month also recognizes  Independence Day celebrations of Mexico (September 16)  and Chile (September 18).

Here is a selection of Central American cuisine in Massachusetts compiled by MOTT Intern Nicolle Valladares in September 2019.  Please visit the restaurant web sites directly for COVID-19 information, restaurant hours, pick-up and take-out.

A number of local activities are taking place in Massachusetts.

On Wednesday, September 16, join the virtual Hispanic Heritage Month Kickoff at Boston City Hall beginning at 6:30 p.m. with music and celebration, followed by a City Hall Lighting Ceremony at 7:30 p.m.

Also on September 16, the Cambridge Public Library Presents Poet José Olivarez, who “explores the stories, contradictions, joys, and sorrows that embody life in the spaces between Mexico and America. Olivarez takes on complex issues of race, ethnicity, gender, class, and immigration using an everyday language that invites the reader in.” Registration is required.

WGBH & WORLD Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with a full calendar of movies, documentaries and news shows that “highlight the vibrant cultures, art and history of Hispanic Americans with programs featuring the achievements of Latinx actors, musicians, educators and more.”

Amplify Latinix is “spotlighting Latinx leaders in Massachusetts who are risk-takers, quiet disruptors, and outspoken advocates leading social change” as part of this year’s Hispanic Heritage Month.

On September 22, Boston University hosts a zoom conversation with Jose Masso, producer and host of WBUR’s Con Salsa!, a popular weekly Latin music radio program which Masso created over 40 years ago.

Local Resources

IBA – Inquilinos Boricuas en Acción, a non-profit organization and a dynamic community development corporation in Boston’s South End that serves as New England’s premier Latino arts hub.

Latinex Employee Resource Group
This group works with the City of Boston to promote cultural diversity and the inclusion of Latinos and Latinas.

El Mundo Newspaper is part of El Mundo Media, the longest running Latino media outlet in New England, formed over 40 years ago.

El Planeta Newspaper is part of El Planeta Media, the largest minority-owned media group in the Northeast.

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