What began in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week became National Hispanic Heritage Month 20 years later and runs every year September 15 until October 15. The month is a time to celebrate the histories, cultures, and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. The specific time period is significant because, as the official site reminds us, September 15 is the anniversary of independence for Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua; Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September 18, respectively; and Columbus Day, or Día de la Raza, is October 12.
The Independent Lens film The State of Arizona gives “a sense of the issues as lived on the ground, of the energies marshaled by each side – so often missing from the reported news – and the human consequences of policymaking,” wrote Robert Lloyd in the L.A. Times. With immigration from south of the border continuing to be a hot topic nationwide, especially leading into a big election year, and with Hispanic Heritage Month being a good time for reflection, The State of Arizona is well-timed to lead to more discussion.
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The Graduates (Los Graduados), Bernardo Ruiz‘s film about teenage Latinos and Latinas who are striving to overcome various challenges to reach their goals of graduating from high school and going to college, is available to watch online.
PBS’s Latino Americans series, which is also currently online, was the first major documentary series for TV to chronicle the rich and varied history and experiences of Latinos, who have helped shape North America over the last 500-plus years and have become, with more than 50 million people, the largest minority group in the U.S.
Pedro E. Guerrero: A Photographer’s Journey (ITVS) airs on PBS’s American Masters this week as well. Captures the remarkable life and work of Pedro E. Guerrero (1917- 2012), a Mexican American, born and raised in segregated Mesa, Arizona, who had an extraordinary international photography career, including collaborations with three of the most iconic American artists of the 20th century: architect Frank Lloyd Wright and sculptors Alexander Calder and Louise Nevelson.