Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month

Hispanic Heritage Month began Sept. 15 in the United States, and celebrates the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America. This observance began in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson, and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period starting on Sept. 15 and ending Oct. 15. It was enacted into law on Aug. 17, 1988.
This year’s theme, “Hispanics: Be Proud of Your Past, Embrace the Future,” invites Hispanics to embrace their backgrounds, to be proud of who they are and where they came from. Within the Association of Junior Leagues International, Inc. (AJLI), there are many inspiring Latinx women to embrace over the course of AJLI’s, as well our own League’s, history:
  • 1930: The Junior League of Mexico City joins AJLI, becoming the 112th League in the Association and the second international League in the Association following the Junior League of Montreal.
  • 1952: The Mexico City League establishes the Comité Internacional Pro Ciegos, a comprehensive, international center for the blind.
  • 1995: The Junior League of Mexico City raises public awareness of the serious waste management problem facing one of the world’s largest cities. The initiative ultimately formed the basis of a new law mandating the orderly sorting and separation of garbage prior to collection.
  • 1998: Clotilde Perez-Bode Dedecker becomes the first Hispanic president of AJLI. (See the Sept. 17 e-Link for more information from the Diversity & Inclusion Committee.)
  • 2010: The Junior League of Guadalajara, Mexico, officially joins AJLI.
  • 2014: Samira Modad of Junior League of Mexico City receives the Mary Harriman Award. (See the Oct. 1 e-Link for more information from the Diversity & Inclusion Committee.)
  • 2015: Beatriz Duque Long becomes the first Hispanic president of the Junior League of Northern Virginia (JLNV).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the Hispanic population of the United States is the nation’s largest ethnic or racial minority, constituting 18.5% of the population as of July 2019. According to the 2019-20 Active member survey, of the 70 respondents, fewer than 4% of JLNV members identify as Hispanic.
The JLNV is committed to increasing our membership outreach to recruit members from a wider array of backgrounds. The JLNV also plans to continue to spotlight our members in a variety of ways, and is currently working to update the membership directory to allow our members to self-identify not only based on race/ethnicity, but religion, sexual orientation and other demographic factors as well. Stay tuned for more information.