September 11, 2023

Warriors in the Community, Episode 22: Hispanic Heritage Month

Warriors in the Community is a radio segment that features short, insightful interviews with key figures from Wayne State University about the many ways in which the university and its programs make a positive impact on the metro area and on the lives of Detroiters.

In Episode 22, we talk with professor Jorge Chinea, Ph.D., Director of the Center for Latino/a and Latin American Studies, about the national and local significance of Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15. With more than 52 years of commitment to excellence in education, the Center for Latino/a and Latin American Studies (LAS) is one of the oldest programs of its kind. The Center seeks to transform the University, and ultimately society, by providing equitable access to a quality university education to students interested in U.S. Latino/a and Latin American cultural studies while enhancing diversity on campus.



Intro:  This is Warriors in the Community, brought to you by Wayne State University. And now to learn about how Wayne State is positively impacting our communities, here's Darrell Dawsey.

Darrell Dawsey: Today I'm with Professor Jorge Chinea, PhD. He is the academic director for the Center for Latino, Latina, and Latin American Studies, and he's here to talk about Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs from September 15th to October 15th each year.

Can you give us a brief overview of the history of Hispanic Heritage Month?

Jorge Chinea: You know, the Hispanic Heritage Month came out kind of in the late 1960s, when there was a renaissance going on in the United States. It was also a time when there was a lot of civil rights activism in that time to try to push the idea that Maybe we ought to find a way to celebrate the accomplishments and contributions of people of Latino descent. 

And ever since then, it began with a week in 1968 and it became eventually a month.

Darrell Dawsey: Now we know it's not a full month. It's not say January 1st, January 31st, run September through October. Do you know why that is?

Jorge Chinea: You know, part of the reason is there are at that time, several Latin American countries underwent their independence from Spain.

People thought it was also important to align the dates with a date that coincides with the independence of Latin America. So all of them celebrated their independence right around that time interval. Let's bring this a little closer to home.

Darrell Dawsey: Why is Hispanic Heritage Month so important here in Detroit in the metro area?

Jorge Chinea: I think it's important because Latinos have been playing a pivotal role. But more concretely in the case of Michigan, because Latinos were instrumental in the development of both the sugar beet industry from the 1880s to about the 1930s and more recently in the development of the foundries and later the mid 1930s automobile industry.

Darrell Dawsey: Dr. Jorge Chinea, thank you so much for joining us.

Outro: This has been Warriors in the Community. For more Wayne State news, please visit us online at today. wayne. edu slash wwj and join us here next Monday at the same time for more Warriors in the Community.


Faculty spotlight

Subscribe to Today@Wayne

Direct to your inbox each week