Honoring Hispanic Heritage Month
Did you know that September 15-October 15 is National Hispanic Heritage Month? National Hispanic Heritage Month traditionally honors the cultures and contributions of both Hispanic and Latino Americans as we celebrate heritage rooted in all Latin American countries.
The dates for Hispanic Heritage Month were chosen to coincide with the Independence Day celebrations of many Latin American nations—Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua—that declared their independence from Spain on September 15, 1821. Chile, Mexico, and Belize also each have their own Independence Day celebrations throughout the month as well. All in all, Hispanic Heritage Month celebrates communities with roots in 20 Latin American countries and territories who make up over 19% of the U.S. population.
We have many people on staff and people we serve who are Hispanic and/or Latino. (Do you get these two terms confused? Hispanic refers to people who speak Spanish or are descended from Spanish-speaking populations, while Latino refers to people who are from or descended from people from Latin America. Simply put, Hispanic refers to language and Latino refers to geography. Learn more.)
As with other people of color, Hispanic Americans experience higher rates of poverty and have less access to healthcare services than White people (the following stats are from 2021, from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration/SAMHSA).
- The poverty rate of Hispanic and Latino Americans is nearly two times higher (17%) than non-Hispanic White Americans (9.5%)
- Nearly 18% of Hispanic or Latino Americans were not covered by health insurance in 2021, compared with about 6% of non-Hispanic White Americans
- Only 36% of Hispanic and Latino Americans received mental health services compared to non-Hispanic Whites (52%)
- Past year substance use disorder among Hispanic and Latino Americans was 15.7%, reported rates of illicit drug use was 19.4%, and unmet treatment needs 15%
We stand with our staff, friends, neighbors, the people we serve, and all Hispanic Americans. We continue to work towards racial equity and social justice for all.