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NOTE: In lieu of the flooding damage and affected buildings, the Hispanic Heritage Month Committee will be rescheduling its kickoff event to Thursday, Sept 29. The El Grito Showdown will also be rescheduled. Date and time to be determined. 

To celebrate the culture, heritage and contributions of Hispanics and Latino Americans, Cal State San Bernardino and its Palm Desert Campus will hold a number of virtual and live events Sept. 15 through Oct. 15 to mark National Hispanic Heritage Month.

To launch the celebratory month, on Thursday, Sept. 15, from 12:30- 1 p.m. at the SMSU North Court, the Hispanic Heritage Month Planning Committee will host a kickoff program welcoming CSUSB students, faculty, staff and administrators to learn more about current initiatives that promote higher education within the community. (This event has been rescheduled. Please see the note above.)

From noon-2 p.m. at the Palm Desert Campus, in the Oliphant Auditorium, the Rancho Mirage Student Center will host Coyote Cinema: a viewing of “Selena,” a film on the life story of Mexican-American singer Selena Quintanilla Pérez, known as Selena, and called the “Queen of Tejano music.” Her contributions to music and fashion made her one of the most celebrated entertainers of the late 20th century.

Later in the day from 4-5 p.m. in the College of Education, Room 354 and also on Zoom, a discussion, “San Bernardino Business and Labor Community: Past, Present and Future,” will feature Latino scholars and activists who will address business/labor practices and needs in San Bernardino and the Inland Empire, and identify campus and community resources that will partner with their academic pursuits while attending CSUSB. The event is hosted by Jose Muñoz, an associate professor of sociology in collaboration and sponsorship of the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program and the Office of Student Research. For more information, contact Jose Muñoz at munoz@csusb.edu.

In the evening, there will be the El Grito Showdown, a celebration of Mexican Independence Day on Sept 15, 7-10 p.m., at the Santos Manuel Student Union Amphitheatre. The university’s LatinX Center invites the campus community to celebrate El Grito de la Independencia de México with live music and dancing. (This event has been rescheduled. Please see the note above.)

As part of the celebration, the 11th annual Latino Education and Advocacy Day Summit will be held on Sept. 30 at the Santos Manuel Student Union South featuring actor, director, comedian and author Richard “Cheech” Marin as the honorary chair/padrino de honor.

The objective of Hispanic Heritage Month is to provide the CSUSB community students with the chance to explore and become immersed in Hispanic and Latinx culture via different points of reference.

Other CSUSB Hispanic Heritage Month events include:

  • Tuesday, Sept. 20, 11 a.m.-noon, Zoom panel session: “What it means to be an HSI?” CSUSB’s designation as a Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) will be discussed as participants will hear from the perspective of faculty, staff, administrators and students. Zoom Password: HSI. Attend "What does it mean to be an HSI?"
  • Thursday, Sept. 22, 11:30 a.m. *until sold out, University Hall Plaza, ALFSS Pupusa Sale: Support the ALFSS Scholarship Fund and enjoy lunch! Meal options – 2 pupusas – $6; 2 pupusas + drink – $7.50; 3 pupusas + drink – $10. Cash only.
  • Tuesday, Sept. 27, noon, Zoom talk: “From Chicano to Latinx: My Search for Identity Finds Diversity.” Robert Santos, who has led the U.S. Census Bureau since 2021, talks about his experiences growing up in the barrios of San Antonio, Texas to becoming the bureau’s first Latino director. Attendees must register beforehand using the event’s Zoom registration link: https://bit.ly/SantosLatinx.
  • Tuesday, Oct. 4, noon, location to be determined, “Social Justice Through Poetry”: The World Languages and Literatures Department and Los Amigos in collaboration with the College of Arts & Letters and ALFSS will welcome alumna and former Spanish TA, María Guadalupe Ortiz. Ortiz utilizes poetry and music as a form of activism and also for teaching language. She creates consciousness on different topics of social justice such as immigration and education. Although her poetry and compositions can also be a manifestation of love and culture. For accommodations, contact Bibiana Díaz at (949) 331-7608.
  • Thursday, Oct. 13, 5-6:30 p.m., Santos Manuel Student Union Fourplex, “Fiesta de Pintura”: You don’t have to be Frida Kahlo to enjoy an evening of painting and refreshments!
    Open to the first 30 registrants. Register for Fiesta de Pintura
  • Thursday, Oct. 13, noon-2 p.m., Oliphant Auditorium, Coyote Cinema: The Rancho Mirage Student Center at the Palm Desert Campus, will host a viewing of “McFarland USA,” a 2015 sports drama based on the true story of a 1987 cross country team from a mainly Latino high school in McFarland, California, whose coach led them to win a state cross-country championship.

Hispanic Heritage Week was established by legislation sponsored by Rep. Edward R. Roybal (D-Los Angeles) and signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson in 1968. The commemorative week was expanded by legislation sponsored by then-U.S. Rep. Esteban Edward Torres (D-Pico Rivera) and implemented by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period (Sept. 15 – Oct. 15). The bill died in committee, but in 1988, U.S. Sen. Paul Simon of Illinois re-submitted an amended version, which was enacted into law on Aug. 17, 1988.

Sept. 15 of every year was chosen as the starting point for the celebration because it is the anniversary of independence of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua, who all declared independence in 1821. In addition, Mexico, Chile and Belize  celebrate their independence days on Sept. 16, Sept. 18 and Sept. 21, respectively.

For more information, visit the CSUSB Hispanic Heritage Month website.