Karina Rodrigues, President of the BCHBA, on Hispanic Heritage Month

Each year, National Hispanic Heritage Month is observed from September 15 to October 15. The commemoration provides us with an opportunity to recognize and celebrate the rich histories, diverse cultures and various contributions of the American Latino community. This wonderful tradition began in 1968 as a weeklong event and was extended to a month in 1988.

There are many reasons to celebrate Hispanic Heritage. As a cultural group, Latinos are a diverse community. The group comes from every race, religion and political affiliation, and the shared history has roots in Native, European and African heritage. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the Hispanic population makes up the nation’s largest ethnic or racial minority. More specifically, Hispanics make up approximately 17 percent of America’s total population, and currently, one in four children is Hispanic.

Hispanics or Latinos have contributed to American life for hundreds of years. For instance, they have fought in every war since the American Revolution.

Moreover, their achievements are countless when it comes to innovations, politics, business, public service, sports and the arts.

It is because of our vibrant history that communities look forward to celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month each year. The celebration has been recognized nationwide with a wide array of events, such as festivals, community gatherings, art shows and conferences. This year, the Broward County Bar Association’s Hispanic Lawyers Committee (BCBA) and the Broward County Hispanic Bar Association (BCHBA) will be partnering up once again to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month.

While this year our organizations have had to find creative alternatives to traditional celebrations, everyone is excited to continue to highlight collective accomplishments of Hispanics and Latinos. Several surprises are planned throughout the month.

However, one of the most significant events will be the follow-up to last year’s inaugural “Behind the Gavel” event, the celebration of Broward County’s Hispanic judges and magistrates.

In planning this year’s “Behind the Gavel” event, several things about Broward County’s Hispanic Judiciary became clear. Most notable was the judges’ commitment to the community and their desire invest in the future of the legal profession.

From speaking to high school and college students, to mentoring law students getting ready to take the Bar exam, the judges are all eager to help what they view as the next generation of Hispanic and Latino lawyers, judges and leaders.

Further, whether appointed or elected, Broward’s judges of Hispanic descent have an impressive array of personal and professional experiences that should be recognized and celebrated.

Hispanic Heritage Month will provide the community a wonderful opportunity for learning more about Hispanic culture and local leaders, especially our dedicated judiciary. The BCBA and BCHBA hope everyone enjoys what is in store this year and wish everyone a happy celebration.

Source: The BCBA Barrister

Written by: Karina Rodrigues (President of the BCHBA, Attorney at Kelley | Uustal) and Elisabeth Rodriguez (Chairperson of the Hispanic Lawyers Committee)

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