Soberalski Immigration Law observes and celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month!


Hispanic Heritage Month is a unique annual observance that runs from September 15 to October 15 in the United States. It is a time reserved to recognize and reflect on the cultural contributions of the millions of Americans, now and throughout history, with Hispanic and Latin roots. The reason it runs mid-month is because five Latin America nations – Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua – celebrate their independence on September 15, followed just days later by Mexico, Chile, and Belize.

The importance of recognizing and celebrating Americans with Hispanic and Latin origins is that their cultures have added greatly to the tapestry of diversity that makes our country strong and extraordinary. The uniqueness of this culture is united by the Spanish language, yet each country from the Americas to the Caribbean have added their own flair of vernaculars and dialects. They also present individual regional cuisines, customs, traditions, and music. This variety adds for an immensely dynamic cultural experience.

Take for example the diversity within the Hispanic/Latin community with people like: Amara La Negra, a hip-hop diva who identifies as an Afro-Latina born in Miami to Dominican parents; Ellen Ochoa, the first Latina astronaut, who is also a pilot, a classical flutist, and holder of three patents; Carolina Herrera, a Venezuelan who started her own fashion line at 40; and Anthony Romero a New Yorker with Puerto Rican parents who became the first Latino and openly gay leader of the ACLU. While we are at it, let us celebrate the first Latin American pontiff, Pope Francis from Argentina, and Canelo Alvarez, the red-headed Mexican professional boxer with multiple world championships under his belt.

And what is a celebration without the appreciation of wonderful Latin dishes: tamales, a Mesoamerican dish of corn-based dough filled with meat and cheese favored in Mexico, Equador, Bolivia, and Chile; bandeja paisa, a Columbian platter of deliciousness; asado, a grilling technique famous in Argentina and other Latin countries; ceviche, which is raw seafood cooked with citric juices popular in Peru and Chile; ropa vieja, a Cuban recipe with shredded meat flavored with sofrito; the savory pupusas from El Salvador; and the lomo saltado, an Asian-inspired dish in Peru of beef tenderloin stir fry served over fries.

Many Hispanic cultures have also combined some of their rituals and festivals with Spain’s Catholic influences, as in the celebration of Dia de los Muertos. The origin began with the Aztecs, who believed that the dead were still part of the living community. To the Aztecs, it was to show respect to their ancestries, and to the Catholic faith, respect to saints that passed on.

In the U.S., there has been a beautiful fusion of many traditions: in music, American artforms from jazz to hip-hop have been invigorated by Latin sounds; quinceañeras continue to celebrate womanhood as sweet sixteen and debutante balls have faded from fashion; and businesses from eateries to architecture have thrived with a combination of sensibilities. Cultural exchange has been reciprocal, of course: the United States adopted Mother’s Day in the early 1900s, and many Latin and Hispanic countries celebrate Dia de las Madres, combining elements of the U.S. holiday with indigenous and Catholic traditions honoring motherhood.

The presence of Hispanic influences are evident in American culture top to bottom, in sports, entertainment, media, politics, music, fashion, products, and services. Hispanics, Latinos, and Latinas are not just vital contributors to the melting pot of America, but major shapers of the country from its very founding. We celebrate and honor that fact during this Hispanic Heritage Month!