As a Mexican immigrant, I enjoy celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month because it celebrates many aspects of my culture while I also get to experience the richness of other Latin flavors. From the music to the food, Latin America has a lot to offer.
Yet, Americans often forget the real reason for celebrating Hispanic culture – Hispanic Heritage Month is about celebrating the Latin American wars for independence.
It was over the course of 25 years in the early 1800s when many Latin American countries began their struggle for freedom after being exploited for centuries by European powers. After all that fighting, they realized they needed a road map for lasting prosperity – and every Latin American country turned to the trailblazing U.S. Constitution.
As I write in my recent op-ed on Real Clear American Civics:
“In fact, the U.S. Constitution is America’s greatest export…
…Before the United States, no country had a written constitution. After the Philadelphia experiment, almost every Western Democracy today has one. This includes every country in Latin America – every country celebrated on Hispanic Heritage month.
The connection between the American Revolution and the Latin American wars for independence is not just tangential. The Latin American wars for independence were directly inspired by the courage of American patriots in 1776. And the subsequent constitutions drafted in all Latin American nations were inspired by the honorable men who met in 1787 to draft the world’s first constitution.”
America is the first country that understood the idea of respecting the individual. In America, people were not subjects to a crown or a state, but free individuals who could choose their own path. This idea was adopted by every single Latin American country that we celebrate during Hispanic Heritage Month.
Every year, while I am proud to celebrate my culture during Hispanic Heritage Month, I am also proud to live in America, the country that inspired my forefathers to fight for the freedom that Latin American countries enjoy today.