Letters to the UMB Community

UMB Celebrates Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month

September 15, 2022

To the UMB Community:


¡Feliz Mes de la Herencia Hispana/Latinx! Happy Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month!


Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month, celebrated Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, is a time when we highlight and celebrate Hispanic/Latinx Americans (Americans with ancestry from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America, and South America) and their legacies, contributions, and influence on the culture, history, and achievements of the United States and our University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) community. 


It originally was a weeklong celebration, approved in the U.S. on Sept. 17, 1968. Sept. 15 was then selected as the start of the observance because Mexican Independence Day is an annual holiday celebrated Sept. 15-16, and Sept. 15 is Independence Day in Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Also, Sept. 18 is Chile’s Independence Day. In 1988, the United States authorized the designation of Hispanic Heritage Month to be celebrated over a 31-day period.


During Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month at UMB, we affirm our commitment and support for our Hispanic/Latinx colleagues and friends, celebrate their achievements, and continue to collaborate to foster a more inclusive, equitable, and diverse community. With approximately 730,000 Hispanic/Latinx Maryland residents in 2020, they are active contributors to our economy, community, and social life.


As we celebrate, we also acknowledge the struggles related to education, immigration, economics, and health that disproportionately impact our Hispanic/Latinx family and friends. Our nation and the world are greatly impacted by the dedication and innovations of Hispanic peoples. For example, Dolores Clara Fernández Huerta and César Chávez, both American labor leaders and civil rights activists, co-founded the longest-lasting and largest farmers union in the United States, the United Farm Workers of America (UFW). Using nonviolent protests, boycotts, and marches, UFW helped gain labor contracts that increased wages and improved working conditions, propelling the Chicano movement.


Sonia Sotomayor, sworn in Aug. 8, 2009, as the first Hispanic and the third woman to serve on the Supreme Court, is known for fighting for affirmative action protections. This was evident in her 58-page dissent in Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, which held that “prohibitions to state universities from considering race in admission decisions was constitutional.”


Another trailblazer, Helen Rodríguez Trías, MD, was a public health expert, pediatrician, and activist whose work greatly impacted the health of underserved communities and the women’s health movement. As a co-founding member of the Committee to End Sterilization Abuse and the Committee for Abortion Rights and Against Sterilization Abuse, her work was instrumental in ending sterilization abuse of poor women, women of color, and women with physical disabilities.


In the 1980s as the medical director of the New York State Department of Health’s AIDS Institute, she advocated for women and children with HIV. In 1971, Dr. Rodríguez Trías co-founded the Women’s Caucus and the Hispanic Caucus of the American Public Health Association (APHA); in 1993, she became the first Latina elected as president of APHA. For her work advocating on behalf of poor, underrepresented communities, and people with HIV and AIDS, she was awarded the Presidential Citizens Medal in 2001.

More recently, in August, with support from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, the Biden administration finalized a rule to codify the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program as a federal regulation, guarding the program from legal challenges.


‘The Table Dialogue’: Unpacking Race in the Latinx Community

Sept. 14 | Noon-1 p.m. | Virtual Event


For many Latinx, answering the race question on the census can be a confusing
experience. To unpack these experiences and more, we’ll be focusing this month’s “The Table Dialogue” on race within the Latinx community.


Hispanic/Latinx Community Social Hour: Salsa/Bachata Night

Sept. 29 | 5 p.m.-6:30 p.m. | SMC Campus Center, Elm Room 208 A 


Celebrate Hispanic/Latinx culture through the joy of music and dance! Instructors from
SalsaNow, a Baltimore dance school, will teach Latin dance styles. Dinner also will be


The Power of the Latinx Vote with Baltimore City Councilwoman Odette Ramos

Oct. 4 | Noon-1 p.m. | Virtual Event


Join in an enriching conversation on the power of the Latinx vote with the first Latina elected to the Baltimore City Council, Odette Ramos.


For a list of other Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month events in Maryland that are not affiliated with UMB, click here.


En solidaridad (In solidarity),


Diane Forbes Berthoud, PhD, MA

Chief Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Officer and Vice President  




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