Dear DPS Community,
Today marks the first day of Hispanic Heritage Month! This month-long celebration from Sept. 15-Oct. 15 recognizes generations of Hispanic Americans who have positively influenced and enriched our nation. Sept. 15 marks the day when five Latin American countries -- Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua -- earned their independence from Spain in 1821. Mexico, Chile and Belize became independent on Sept. 16, 18 and 21 from Spain and the United Kingdom, respectively.
You may notice that the terms Hispanic and Latino are used interchangeably by many. Hispanic describes someone of Spanish-speaking origin, while Latino, Latina and Latinx are used to describe a person of Latin American origin. No matter the term you use, Hispanic Heritage Month recognizes those whose roots are in a country where Spanish is the primary language.
In 2021, the Pew Research Center found that the U.S. Hispanic population reached 62.5 million -- which is 19% of our nation’s population! According to the U.S. Census, 29.4% of the entire Denver community is Hispanic or Latino. Here at DPS, 51.7% of our students and 33.2% of all our employees are Hispanic, making them the largest population of color that the district serves and employs!
Now that you know just some of the facts and figures around when, who and how many people celebrate this month, I hope this ignites curiosity and opens up a door for the entire DPS community to learn more about Hispanic history, cultures and traditions -- of which there are many! I also encourage all members of the DPS Community to join in the celebrations happening at their schools and around Denver this month and beyond. Stay tuned to the DPS social media pages and Our DPS Weekly for Hispanic Heritage Month features of students and staff through Oct. 15.
Wishing everyone a happy Hispanic Heritage Month!
Dr. Alex Marrero