Hispanic Heritage Month at Westminster


A Celebration in North Texas at the Latino Cultural Center for Hispanic Heritage Month this year. (Courtesy of https://www.dallasnews.com/arts-entertainment/things-to-do/2022/09/15/where-to-celebrate-hispanic-heritage-month-in-d-fw/)

This year, the Westminster Upper School is celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month through music. With help from the Upper School DEI coordinators, Eric Khong and Sabrina Johnson, the Hispanic Affinity Group, Café con Leche, picked a theme and planned an assembly along with other events that will bring attention to the culture of Hispanic and LatinX members of the Upper School.

“There are a lot of Hispanic and Latinx students that I hope feel seen and/or appreciated,” said Khong. “This year’s theme revolves around music, so we’re excited to get a chance to talk about how Latin music influences art around the world, and especially here in Atlanta.”

The observance of Hispanic Heritage Month was first celebrated in 1968 under President Lyndon Johnson’s administration. Two decades later, it expanded to a month-long celebration, starting on Sept. 15 and ending on Oct. 15. Hispanic Heritage Month begins on Sept. 15 because this is a historically significant day that marks the independence of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. It also pays tribute to Mexico’s and Chile’s independence days of Sept. 16 and 18, respectively. 

“I think it’s important to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month to honor the contributions of Hispanic Americans to art, culture, music, STEM, and more,” said Khong. “Westminster can sometimes feel pretty insular, and we hope to educate folks about the diversity here on campus as well as in the city of Atlanta.”

Hispanic Heritage Month is a celebration of the culture and contributions of both Hispanic and Latino Americans. The term “Hispanic” describes someone who is from, or a descendant of someone from, Spain and Spanish-speaking countries. The term Latino/a or Latinx refers to someone who is from, or a descendant of someone who is from, Latin America.

“I love celebrating my culture and my heritage and being able to share that with other people as well,” said senior Areli Garcia Hernandez. “I think it’s important to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month at Westminster because a lot of students don’t get to see our culture and traditions and how we celebrate.”

Sophomore Camila Hernandez also had an opinion on why Hispanic Heritage month is important to bring to Westminster.

“Westminster must celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month because it gives Latinx/Hispanic community members more visibility,” said Hernandez. “Not many students realize the number of students and teachers with Hispanic/Latin backgrounds at Westminster.” 

Primarily due to COVID, this is the first time in four years the Upper School will have a Hispanic Heritage assembly.

“We’re starting it up again as part of a larger push for education, invitation, and celebration for all of our affinity groups,” said Khong. 

During the assembly, the students of Café con Leche talked about different genres of Hispanic music and highlighted what some of this music has meant to them.

“We wanted to show different genres of Hispanic music because sometimes, when [students] think about Hispanic music, they think of just a certain type,” said Garcia Hernandez.  “It’s just showing that there are different genres, and it’s not just one thing.” 

Other events the school has planned for Hispanic Heritage Month include introducing and immersing students in Hispanic music, and the assembly set a precedent for future cultural months ahead.

“It’s a privilege that Hispanic Heritage Month gets to start the year off, and there will be many more assemblies to come for different affinity groups,” said Café con Leche advisor Ashley Ferreira. 

Edited by Kelley Lu