Hispanic Heritage Month is a time of reflection, celebration and recognition of the contributions made by Hispanic and Latino Americans. Today, 55 million people or 17% of the American population are of Hispanic or Latino origin. This represents a significant increase from the year 2000, which registered the Hispanic population at 35.3 million or 13% of the total U.S. population.

The observation began in 1968 under President Lyndon B. Johnson as Hispanic Heritage Week and then became a full 30-day period of observation under President Ronald Reagan in 1988.

Some of the important contributions from the Hispanic community include:

  • Guillermo Gonzalez Camarena invented an early color television system.
  • Ellen Ochoa invented optical analysis systems and also was the world’s first Hispanic astronaut.
  • Pedro Flores was the first person to manufacture the yo-yo in the United States.
  • Carlos Finlay became famous for his work in identifying the mosquito as a carrier of the deadly yellow fever germ.
  • Santiago Ramon y Cajal was a famous Hispanic inventor who was awarded the Nobel Prize for his work on the structure of the nervous system.
  • Miguel Servet’s work in anatomy and physiology led him to the discovery of the circulation of blood through the human body.
  • Juan Lozano invented the Rocket Belt due to his obsession with jet packs.
  • Graciela V.O. de Cuadros invented the collapsible hammock.

Finally, as we look towards Veterans Day and the sacrifices made by our military service men and women, it is important to note that according to the Department of Defense, 12% of active-duty military forces (more than 157,000 people) are Hispanic.

To learn more about the Hispanic community and their contributions click the link: https://hispanicheritagemonth.gov/.

By: Kristen Williams, Manager, Culture, Recognition and Diversity, Southeastern Grocers LLC

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