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This article was written by Samuel Rivera

Hispanics across the country have the chance to celebrate and educate others of their culture from September 15 to October 15 during Hispanic Heritage Month.

Originally only a week long celebration, President Lyndon B. Johnson created Hispanic Heritage Week in 1968. According to history.house.gov, in 1987, California Representative, Esteban Torres, submitted a bill to expand the holiday to a month long celebration so that the American people could learn more about Hispanic heritage. The bill was eventually passed on on August 1988 by President Ronald Reagan and the week celebration transformed into a month.

According to hispanicheritagemonth.gov, Sept. 15 is significant because Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Mexico and Chile all celebrate their independence.

The holiday recognizes the culture, history and contributions made by the ancestors of Hispanic Americans. It is a time for all to appreciate and learn about each culture.

Yarezmi Olvera, a senior studying communication, is from North Carolina. Her parents are from Mexico and she is one of the hundreds of Hispanic students attending BYU-Idaho, according to the school’s ethnicity charts.

Olvera is involved on campus, participating in sports and even serving as one of the directors of Latin dancing.

“Everyone sticks together in the Hispanic community on campus,” Olvera said by attending potlucks and family home evenings with her friends.

Olvera said it would be nice to have more cultural activities, but there are still many things to do. One example is Latin Dancing, which takes place every Friday night.

Sandro Benitez, a teacher education professor, moved to the United States alone from his home in Lima, Peru, when he was 17.

Benitez’s culture plays a big role in his life and he keeps it alive by educating his five children about their heritage. He shares his childhood traditions, like Christmas, with his family.

“I am aware of my culture all the time,Benitez said. “I wake up, look in the mirror, and I know where I come from.”

Latin Dancing takes place every Friday night at 8 pm. For more information on future cultural events coming up, visit the BYU-Idaho Student Activities page.


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