Honoring Latino Heritage

In honor of Latino Heritage Month, on September 15th Governor Quinn and the state of Illinois launched a new website honoring Latino heritage in Illinois.

Latino Heritage Month is a month long celebration meant to honor and recognize the contributions of Hispanic and Latino Americans.

President Lyndon B. Johnson started Latino Heritage week in 1968, and chose September 15th because it’s the anniversary of independence for five different Latin American Countries. President Ronald Reagan in 1988 expanded the week to 30 days, covering September 15th through October 15th.

The website is meant to not only honor Latino Heritage, but also to educate people on the diversity of the Latinos living in Illinois.

Each day a new group of Latino Trailblazers will be added to the website, as a way to honor Latinos that have made their mark on the world. 

“Latinos have made important contributions to enriching this state and this country, and during Latino Heritage Month it is important we honor those achievements,” said Governor Quinn in a press release announcing the website. “I invite everyone to take a minute each day to visit our website and learn about a different Latino Trailblazer.”

Latino Trailblazers include people that have made an impact in a variety of fields, such as the arts, athletics, inventions, politics, and more. 

Recent Latino Trailblazers include Roberto Garza, starting center for the Chicago Bears, and Manuel Perez, Jr., the first Illinois Latino to earn the Congressional Medal of Honor. 

The website also features a section entitled “The Face of Illinois Latinos” which has statistics and information about the diverse population of Latinos in the state. 

According to the website, today one in six Illinoisans are Latino. The largest percentage of Latinos in Illinois come from Mexico and Puerto Rico, which make up 88 percent of the Latino population.

The website shows that for the first time ever, the majority of Latinos now live in the Suburbs instead of Chicago. It also shows that fifteen Illinois municipalities now have majority Latino populations.

With such large Latino populations throughout the state, many festivities are planned for Latino Heritage Month. 

From Monday, October 7th through Friday, October 11th Governor Quinn is hosting a free exhibit in Chicago at the James R. Thompson Center which will profile different Latinos who have made an impact in fields ranging from medicine to innovation. 

The McLean County Museum of History is now hosting an exhibit entitled “Fiesta!: A Celebration of Mexican Popular Arts” that is displaying a large assortment of different forms of art from the 1920’s through today. The exhibit has over 150 genuine pieces of art from Mexico, that include ceramics, textiles, paper mache, lacquerware, basketry, carved wood, leather, glass, and more. 

Entrance to The McLean County Museum is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors, and free for children and students (with a valid student ID). Free admission is offered to all guests on Tuesdays. The museum is located at 200 North Main Street in Bloomington. 

The website can be found at http://www2.illinois.gov/gov/latino-heritage