At AMS there are many Hispanic men and women in our workforce, and we appreciate them and their heritage very much. They are vital to our corporate culture. So, the question arises… how can we begin to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month? Let’s start with learning about that heritage.
At the US Census website we find the following: “People who identify with the terms “Hispanic” or “Latino” are those who classify themselves in one of the specific Hispanic or Latino categories listed on the decennial census questionnaire and various Census Bureau survey questionnaires – “Mexican, Mexican Am., Chicano” or ”Puerto Rican” or “Cuban” – as well as those who indicate that they are “another Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin.”
“In the survey questionnaire, the Hispanic-origin question obtained write-in responses of Hispanic subgroups other than the major groups of Mexican, Cuban, and Puerto Ricans. Persons with other Hispanic origins (e.g.,Salvadoran, Nicaraguan, Argentinean) were able to write in their specific origin group. The Census Bureau’s code list contains over 30 Hispanic or Latino subgroups.”
Hispanic is an Ethnicity
What the census is trying to say is that the Hispanic culture is not based upon race or country of origin, but it is considered an ethnicity – an ethnicity that includes persons from Mexico, parts of the Caribbean, Central and South America who speak Spanish as their primary language. But culture is more than language. Culture includes all things in common: what we enjoy eating, what arts we enjoy including music and dancing, what religion we tend toward, how we choose to dress, what our traditions are, what recreation we enjoy, how close we hold our families, our various heroes and histories and so forth. Hispanic culture itself is diverse and the histories differ.
Celebrating Independence Days
For information about this year’s recognition we went to the US Dept. of Education. They point out the following: “The month also celebrates the independence days of several Latin American countries, including: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua on September 15th, Mexico on September 16th, and Chile on September 18th. They also include holidays that recognize Hispanic contributions such as Virgin Islands-Puerto Rico Friendship Day that is celebrated in the U.S. Virgin Islands.” There’s a lot to celebrate and appreciate during this month, which begins September 15th and ends October 15th.
Hispanic Heritage Month began 53 years ago, in 1968, with a week-long observance. At that time, President Lyndon Johnson signed the bill and issued a proclamation about the contributions made by people of Hispanic descent. He pointed out that it was time for the important role of Hispanic individuals in the United States to be recognized. Nearly 20 years later, under President Ronald Regan, the week was expanded to Hispanic Heritage Month.
The US Department of Education lists the following schedule and weekly focus:
September 15: Hispanic Heritage Month Kick-Off Day
Week of September 19th: Jobs and the Economy
Week of September 26th: Climate
Week of October 3rd: Education and Investing in HSIs
Week of October 10th: Mental Health and Wellness
October 15: Last Day of Hispanic Heritage Month
What AMS Offers
Are we doing anything at AMS to embrace our Hispanic employees? In addition to the free, on-campus higher education, skills and management training classes we offer to employees, AMS has always offered ESL classes from beginning to advanced. We want our Spanish language employees to have easy access if they choose to learn English as a Second Language. AMS also offers Spanish Learning for Leaders and we conduct our safety walks in English and Spanish so that all of the safety measures are clearly understood.
We hope you will check your local calendars for special events surrounding Hispanic Heritage Month in your area. There are likely food festivals near you and Independence celebrations and parades. Have fun and Enjoy some wonderful food and beautiful music and artistry!!! (The LA Mexico Independence Day parade took place on the 10th – video linked HERE.)
And finally, Thank You to our Hispanic employees for bringing your beautiful culture with you into the workplace. Diversity makes us stronger, smarter and better!
Feliz día de la independencia!!!