National Hispanic Heritage Month, celebrated from September 15 through October 15, recognizes and celebrates the history, presence, and contributions of the many (currently 56.6 million!) Latinos living in the United States. National Hispanic Heritage Month was first established as a week-long celebration by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1968. In 1988, President Ronald Reagan expanded it to a month-long celebration.
On September 15, many countries, including Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua, celebrate their independence, and other countries like Mexico, celebrate their independence on September 16, and Chile on the 18th.
So, what exactly can you do with your girls to celebrate? Below are some fun and engaging activities you can try with your troop to celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month:
Make a traditional Latin dish.
Food connects us all and is a great way to explore another country’s culture without ever leaving home! Pozole, a traditional Mexican dish that is made during the cold seasons or for special occasions and holidays. This dish has a long history (it’s made from maize, a sacred plant for Aztecs and other Mesoamericans) and has three variations—red, white, or green—the colors of the Mexican flag. Click for more recipes (from 21 Latin countries!) to try out with your girls.
Learn about some of the most independent, courageous, innovative, and successful Latina women who’ve helped pave the way for future generations to come.
- Justice Sonia Sotomayor became the first Latina justice (and the third female justice!) to serve on the United States Supreme Court in 2009.
- Sandra Cisneros, a groundbreaker in Chicana Literature, became the first female Mexican-American writer to have her work published by a mainstream publisher. She’s best known for her novel, The House on Mango Street, which stems from personal stories of growing up and coming-of-age as a Latina in Chicago.
- Dolores Huerta, a Mexican-American labor leader, co-founded the labor union, United Farm Workers, and advocated for workers’, immigrants’, and women’s rights. ¡Sí, se puede! (Yes, we can!) Want to learn more about the contributions Dolores made to the civil rights era and her fight for farm workers? Check out her documentary now playing at the Lagoon Theatre.
- Ellen Ochoa, the current Director of the Johnson Space Center, was the first Latina woman to go to space (she’s logged almost 1,000 hours in space!). In 1993, she served aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery on a nine-day mission to study the Earth’s ozone layer.
Check out these additional resources for more ideas on how to celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month:
How will you celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month?
Brenda Compean Morales – Brenda is a community partnership specialist at Girl Scouts River Valleys. In high school, Brenda participated in the Girl Scouts ConnectZ program. She graduated from the University of Minnesota (the first in her family to do so!). She credits her participation in Girl Scouts ConnectZ for her ability to visit different college campuses, which greatly influenced her pursuit of higher education. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, dancing, and watching documentaries on Netflix.