National Hispanic Heritage Month

Earlier this month, the nation marked National Hispanic Heritage Month which Congress established in 1988 with the passage of Pub. L. 100-402 designating the “31-day period beginning September 15 and ending on October 15″ to recognize the contributions Hispanic Americans have made to American society and culture. That law amended Pub. L. 90-498 which Congress passed twenty years earlier, in 1968, to authorize the President to issue an annual proclamation designating National Hispanic Heritage Week. President George H.W. Bush issued the first proclamation, Presidential Proclamation 6021, for National Hispanic Heritage Month on September 14, 1989. Since then, Presidents George H.W. Bush, Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama have issued annual proclamations for National Hispanic Heritage Month. The most recent was President Obama’s Presidential Proclamation 8561 to “honor Hispanics for enriching the fabric of America, even as we recognize and rededicate ourselves to addressing the challenges to equality and opportunity that many Hispanics still face.”

The Brooklyn Law School Library has in its collection several items on the subject of Hispanic Americans the most recent of which is Latino/a Rights and Justice in the United States: Perspectives and Approaches by José Luis Morín (Call # E184.S75 M675 2009). The author, a professor of Latin American and Latina/o Studies Department at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York, provides an understanding of the Latino/a experience of discrimination and economic and social injustice in the United States. The book, in its second edition, discusses the racial and ethnic bias that Hispanics encounter in law enforcement and the criminal justice system, citizenship rights, immigration and crime. The author challenges conventional ideas and popular myths about Hispanics in the US.