Office of Hispanic Initiatives Celebrates 2021 Hispanic Heritage Month

Georgia Tech's Office of Hispanic Initiatives will sponsor and co-sponsor a host of virtual and in-person events open to faculty, staff, and students in celebration of 2021 Hispanic Heritage Month.
2021 Hispanic Heritage Month Theme poster (photo credit: National Council of Hispanic Employment Program Managers)

2021 Hispanic Heritage Month Theme poster (photo credit: National Council of Hispanic Employment Program Managers)

Hispanic Heritage Month takes place annually Sept. 15 through Oct. 15 across the nation as a time to recognize and celebrate the various contributions, cultures, and extensive histories of the American Hispanic and Latinx communities. “Hispanic Heritage Week” was first observed in 1968 under President Lyndon Johnson, but was extended to a monthlong period under President Ronald Reagan in 1988.

The period was chosen for its significance to Hispanic/Latinx communities: Sept. 15 is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Mexico and Chile celebrate independence days on Sept. 16 and 18, respectively. Día de la Raza (Day of the Race) is also recognized in the U.S. and in some Latin American countries on Oct. 12 as the anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ arrival in what would become known as North, Central, and South America. The day also centers around honoring the native people, traditions, and cultures of the Americas.

The Center for Student Diversity and Inclusion's Office of Hispanic Initiatives (OHI) will sponsor and co-sponsor a host of virtual and in-person events open to faculty, staff, and students in celebration of 2021 Hispanic Heritage Month, which carries the national theme "Esperanza: A Celebration of Hispanic Heritage and Hope."

“The overall number of Hispanic/Latinx students at Georgia Tech continues to grow and Hispanics/Latinxs are now the largest ethnic minority in the U.S.,” Jorge Breton, director of OHI said. “Hispanic Heritage Month is a great opportunity to celebrate and recognize the economic, scientific, cultural, and social contributions of these communities, especially as the Institute – and society at large – makes efforts to be more diverse, equitable, and inclusive.”

Diley Hernández, associate vice president for Institute Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion added, “Hispanic Heritage Month is always a special time of reflection for the Hispanic/Latinx community. This is a time for coming together, gathering strength in our values, our cultural practices, and through our common stories. It is especially during difficult times like these that the deep sense of community that is so prevalent in our cultures becomes a centerpiece of our resiliency and fuels our hope. Tenemos esperanza en un mejor futuro pues sabemos que estamos juntos en esta lucha por un mundo más justo para todos.” [“We are hopeful for a better future because we know we are together in this fight toward a most just world for all.”]

Some of the 2021 Hispanic Heritage Month events include:

Latinos/Hispanics in STEM: A Career Path Series Featuring Dr. Nicole Mendoza
Tuesday, Sept. 21, 4-5 p.m.

Nicole Mendoza, senior researcher in Wind Energy Systems at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, will share her story as part of the GoSTEM Latinos/Hispanics in STEM: A Career Path Series. The seminar series shares experiences of successful professionals of Latino/Hispanic heritage working in various fields including academia, private industry, and government. (Presented by the Latino Organization of Graduate Students (LOGRAS), the GoSTEM Program, and the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering.)

The Afro-Latinx Experience Panel  
Wednesday, Sept. 29, noon-1 p.m.

Afro-Latinx members of the Georgia Tech community will share personal experiences,  through compelling and inspiring conversations during the Afro-Latinx Experience Panel. Viewers will learn about the panelists’ experiences growing up in their communities as Afro-Latinos. The conversation will also focus on the Afro-Latinx perspective on racial injustice, racism and colorism, as well as proactive approaches to identify solutions. (Co-hosted by OHI, the Hispanics Or Latinos and Allies (HOLA) Employee Resource Group (ERG) and the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) IDENTIFY@GTRI ERG.)

Keynote Hispanic Heritage Month Lecture
Wednesday, Oct. 6, 3-4:30 p.m.

As part of the Institute Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Intercultural Lecture Series, the 2021 Hispanic Heritage Month Lecture will feature Dr. Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa, world-renown neurosurgeon and neuroscientist. (Co-sponsored by Institute Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and the GoSTEM Program.) Register here.

Mini World Cup 
Friday, Oct. 1, 1:30-5:30 p.m.

Students will display their commitment to teamwork and love for football (also known as “soccer”) by participating in friendly competition on the West Campus Roe Stamps Fields. (Hosted by the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (GT-SHPE, with support from OHI.)

For a full lineup of events, registration, and more information, visit

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