Sept. 15 marks the beginning of Hispanic Heritage Month – a celebration of both Hispanic and Latinx culture in America.

This month celebrates the fundamental contributions that the Hispanic and Latinx communities have made to the growth, vitality and culture of America, according to a press release from the newly elected Senate minority leader, Melisa López Franzen (D-Edina.)

“Being elected as the first Latina woman, a native of Puerto Rico, to serve as a Caucus Leader in the Minnesota Senate on the eve of Hispanic Heritage Month has not been lost on me,” López Franzen said in a statement. “What a historic moment for our community. I am honored to be the first – and most certainly not the last. Let us celebrate our rich history, identities, backgrounds, and the significant contributions that our community has given here in Minnesota and across the nation.”

Started in 1968 by Congress as Hispanic Heritage Week, it was expanded to a month in 1988. The celebration, spanning Sept. 15 through Oct. 15, begins in the middle of the month rather than the start of September because it coincides with national independence days in several Latin American countries: Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Costa Rica as they celebrate theirs on Sept. 15, followed by Mexico on Sept. 16, Chile on Sept. 18 and Belize on Sept. 21.

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