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Hispanic Heritage Month

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National Hispanic Heritage Month kicks off September 15 and celebrates Hispanic culture through October 15. Originally Hispanic Heritage Week, it was enacted under President Lyndon Johnson and has continue to grow over time.

Census data shows that 19% of the US population and 7% of Shelby County’s identifies as Hispanic or Latino. Before 1990, the Latinx community in the Memphis area was fairly small, but then experienced exponential growth over the next 20 years as families settled in the area for job opportunities.

Along with population growth, there’s been a growth in nonprofits uniquely positioned to promote wider representation and address the needs of the Latino/Hispanic community. Latino Memphis is the largest of these organizations, providing broad services, partnerships, and advocacy in health, education, and social justice. Some, such as Cazateatro Bilingual Theatre, use the arts for the public education of Hispanic culture. Others provide niche services, such as CasaLuz which focuses on preventing and addressing domestic violence.