DASD Celebrates Latino/a/x and Hispanic Heritage Month

In celebration of Latino/a/x and Hispanic Heritage Month, students in Mrs. Egan’s Beaver Creek 3rd grade class made worry dolls, which originate from Guatemala.

During the 2021-22 school year, Downingtown Area School District (DASD), its Cultural Equity Task Force team and the school community at large made a concerted effort to celebrate many of our nation’s month-long observances. Once again, DASD is looking forward to the upcoming, district-wide programs and celebrations that are in store this year, beginning with the celebration of Latino/a/x and Hispanic Heritage Month.

According to online source History.com, Latino/a/x and Hispanic Heritage Month is an annual celebration that takes place September 15 to October 15. The event recognizes and commemorates the history and culture of the U.S. Latino/a/x and Hispanic communities and how they have influenced and contributed to American society.

On September 14, 1989, President George H.W. Bush declared September 15 to October 15 as National Hispanic Heritage Month, stating, “Not all of the contributions made by Hispanic Americans to our society are so visible or so widely celebrated, however. Hispanic Americans have enriched our nation beyond measure with the quiet strength of closely-knit families and proud communities.”

Since then, the celebration has evolved to include those who self-identify as Latino/a/x. The PEW research center expanded the definition of Hispanic as, “Anyone who says they are. And nobody who says they aren’t,” and may include, “Americans who identify themselves as being of Spanish-speaking background and trace their origin or descent from Mexico, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Central and South America, and other Spanish-speaking countries,” based upon the 1976 U.S. Congress-passed Public Law 94-311.

Throughout the month of September, DASD students and staff will participate in a variety of activities celebrating the unique experiences and successes of individuals who identify as Latino/a/x and Hispanic, including an array of interdisciplinary activities and literary connections honoring the depth and breadth of prominent figures.

Events planned for this year’s celebration include “The Importance of Hispanic Heritage” on September 19, a virtual program with actress and motivational speaker Alisa Reyes, who is best known for being an original cast member on Nickelodeon’s All That, and a screening of Disney’s Encanto on September 29, which is set to include a discussion of select scenes and the representation of Colombian culture. Additionally, DASD staff and students will create video reflections honoring and observing the month.

While DASD schools continue to celebrate Latino/a/x and Hispanic Heritage Month throughout September, there are numerous community activities scheduled within the greater Downingtown Area. Please check your local listings for events and programming. To participate in this month’s activities, to learn more about DASD’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion program and to see examples of its program in action, please visit www.dasd.org/diversity.

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