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Hispanic Heritage Month Offers Opportunity for Reflection

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Thursday, September 16, 2021   

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Hispanic Heritage Month began this week, and will be celebrated through Oct. 15.

Oregon has a rapidly growing Hispanic population, according to census data, increasing from 450,000 in 2010 to nearly 590,000 in 2020.

Dr. Carlos Romo, a volunteer for AARP Oregon with a Ph.D. in foreign languages and literatures, said the month is a time to reflect.

"I think we simply have to stop and pause to recognize the contributions, the needs that Hispanics have made, are making and are going to be making for our society, for our community in the United States," Romo explained.

Romo noted the Hispanic population is expected to double in Oregon over the next three decades. Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated starting on Sep. 15 because the date coincides with five countries gaining their independence from Spain: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Mexico celebrates its independence today, Sep. 16.

Romo pointed out Spaniards visited Oregon's coast as early as the 16th century. Cowboys from Mexico came to the state in the 19th century, and in the 1940s, the bracero farmworker program brought a Latino workforce to the state.

Romo emphasized Oregon's Hispanic population works in all kinds of sectors today.

"The Oregon Office of Economic Analysis estimates that there's 3,250 Hispanic-owned firms in Oregon," Romo observed. "So there's a rich history, a rich contribution that Hispanics have made here in Oregon."


Disclosure: AARP Oregon contributes to our fund for reporting on Consumer Issues, Health Issues, Livable Wages/Working Families, and Senior Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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