New Jersey City University launched its month-long observance of 2021 National Hispanic Heritage Month on Wednesday, September 22 with a Hispanic Heritage Month Opening Event. The keynote speaker, Cesar Vargas described his journey as an undocumented college student pursuing a career in law and discussed the importance of empowering students of all backgrounds to succeed. The event culminated in a rousing performance by the NJCU Latin Jazz Combo. The event was first in a series of events hosted by various departments and units across campus to commemorate Hispanic Heritage Month.
National Hispanic Heritage Month, observed in the United States from September 15 through October 15, recognizes the contributions of Hispanic/Latinx people to the history and culture of the United States. The national observance of Hispanic Heritage Month was established in 1968 as National Hispanic Heritage Week and was expanded to cover a 30-day period in 1988. National Hispanic Heritage Month coincides with the anniversary of independence for eight Latin American countries – Belize, Chile, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, and Nicaragua.
As a Hispanic Serving Institution and a Minority Serving Institution, cultural observances like Hispanic Heritage Month provide an opportunity for NJCU to show its recognition and support of its Hispanic/Latinx students, as well as providing opportunities to amplify their voices and increase their visibility. Further, these celebrations provide opportunities for intercultural engagement and learning, networking and mentoring, and fostering a strong sense of community at the university.
— Ángel González, Ph.D. (inaugural Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer)