Hispanic Heritage Month grew out of National Hispanic Heritage Week, which President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law in 1968. In 1987, Representative Esteban Torres pushed for a month-long commemoration. He argued that supporters of his bill “want the American people to learn of our heritage. We want the public to know that we share a legacy with the rest of the country, a legacy that includes artists, writers, Olympic champions, and leaders in business, government, cinema, and science. [The month-long celebration] will allow our nation to properly observe and coordinate events and activities to celebrate Hispanic culture and achievement.” Torres’ bill did not pass, but a year later, a similar bill – proposed by Senator Paul Simon – did, with President Ronald Reagan signing it into law on August 17, 1988.
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