By WestEd’s Eliana Tardio Hurtado, Program Associate working in Special Education Policy and Practice. Eliana is a worldwide influencer on topics related to improving equity and outcomes for people with disabilities, with an emphasis on inclusion and diversity.

Many thanks to the members of WestEd’s Employee Resource Group (ERG), Communidad Latina, for sharing their voices, including Alex Dang-Lozano, Ann-Marie Wiese, Bernardo Martinez, Consuelo Espinosa, Diana de la Lanza, Ericka C. Muñoz, Nicole Tirado-Strayer, Rocio Ambrocio Quintana, Sharon Sáez, Teresa Alonzo, and Yesenia Ayala.

National Hispanic Heritage Month celebrates the histories, cultures, and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America.

According to’s National Hispanic Heritage Month web page, “The observation started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover 30 days starting on September 15 and ending on October 15. It was enacted into law on August 17, 1988, on the approval of Public Law 100-402.”

September 15 is significant because it is the anniversary the independence of Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September 18, respectively. Also, Columbus Day, or Día de la Raza, on October 12, falls within these 30 days.

For many of us first-generation immigrants, the celebration reminds us of the things we left behind and the dreams ahead, as many of them are still under construction. Many inside our community recognize and accept the term Hispanic, but many don’t. Many identify as Latinos, others as Latinx, and many in our youngest generations believe Latine represents them better.

Our community is vibrant and diverse in all its extensions. We have different skin colors, different cultures, and different flavors. And at the same time, we have so much in common: our family values, our fiesta and folklore, our passion for music and food, and our commitment to keep progressing regardless of the challenges we have faced and continue to face in our attempt to maintain our cultural roots.

This campaign has given our organization an opportunity to reflect on the diverse experiences of members of our Latinx community. Throughout the month, we’ve shared some of our faces and the faces of our community at WestEd on social media.

View our individual perspectives on WestEd’s Twitter channel at the links below.