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Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month

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Independence Days
Hispanic vs Latino, Latina, Latinx
Food, Dress and Celebrations
My Experience as a JSOM Student: Sofia Martinez-Murillo
My Experience as a JSOM Student: Karla Trujillo de la Fuente

This blog was co-written by Sofia Martinez-Murillo and Karla Trujillo de la Fuente

Celebrated from September 15 to October 15, National Hispanic Heritage Month is a way to appreciate Hispanic countries and the culture that each one has brought to the United States. It celebrates the cultures and traditions of those who trace their roots back to Spain, Mexico, and Spanish-speaking nations of Central America, South America and the Caribbean. 

The celebration started in 1968 under President Lyndon B. Johnson’s administration as Hispanic Heritage Week; however, it was turned into a monthlong celebration in 1988 under President Ronald Reagan. 

According to the United States Census Bureau, the Hispanic population is the largest minority group in the United States with 58.9 million people reported in 2017, so it’s important to appreciate their culture and spread love to the people who fill the United States with different forms of art, music and food. 

Independence Days

Hispanic Heritage Month starts on September 15, a day when multiple Hispanic countries, including Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua celebrate their independence.

On September 16, Mexico gained its independence.

Next is Chile, which celebrates its independence on September 18. Belize celebrates on September 21, and Puerto Rico on September 23.

Hispanic vs Latino, Latina, Latinx

(graphic below)

Hispanic vs latinex graphic Hispanic heritage month

Graphic by Sofia Martinez-Murillo

It’s important to note the difference between someone being Hispanic and Latinx (a gender-neutral term for Latino/Latina).  

Hispanic describes someone of a Spanish-speaking origin, and Latinx describes a person who is of Latin-American origin.

This Venn Diagram explains the different countries and where they lie. Note: Multiple countries are both Latinx and Hispanic; however, it is important to know the difference to not confuse or accidentally insult someone. 

Food, Dress and Celebrations

A good way to celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month is to appreciate Hispanic food, dress and to enjoy the celebrations that are put on each year by the Hispanic community. 

The type of dress from each country tends to be more traditional during festivities. Women may dress in colorful embroidered skirts, and men may wear traditional pants and embroidered shirts. 

el salvador traditional dress Hispanic heritage month

El Salvador


latinex dress Hispanic heritage month





In addition to the way people dress to celebrate, the multitude of Hispanic dishes shows countries’ years of tradition and flavors have become a way of expressing one’s culture. Food is a common language to bring people together and appreciate the differences various cultures have. 

Be on the lookout for our upcoming recipe book, where we will share different recipes from UT Dallas students you can try out for yourself!

Sofia martinez murillo hispanic heritage month

Sofia Martinez-Murillo

My Experience as a JSOM Student: Sofia Martinez-Murillo

I am proud of my culture. I come from Mexico City, Mexico, and even though I’ve lived in Texas for 14 years, I try to stay true to my roots. Being a student at UT Dallas has helped me express a part of me that had been shut down for so long.

One of the main reasons I decided to come to UTD was due to the diverse campus, where it felt like I could finally be myself without fear of being judged. I quickly learned of the organizations on campus that made me feel welcome. In November of 2018, I heard of the Multicultural Center and the events they put on for Hispanic Heritage Month.

That being my first year in college, I knew I wanted to explore with some friends what our campus had to offer. As I stepped onto the Plinth, where the event was taking place, a sense of belonging and comfort took over me. I felt welcomed and happy. It took me back to being with my family;, only this time, my family consisted of friends and other students who wanted to celebrate and appreciate a different culture. 

After that night, walking through JSOM’s halls was different. I had a fonder knowledge of our student body, one I was even more proud to be a part of. Seeing the diversity that JSOM has gave me the confidence to be myself, but what I love most is being surrounded by students who want to listen and respectfully learn about my culture.

Karla Trujillo Jindal School Student

Karla Trujillo de la Fuente

My Experience as a JSOM Student: Karla Trujillo de la Fuente

¡Hola! My name is Karla Trujillo de la Fuente, and I am a first-generation international student from Mexico City, Mexico. I am currently a  junior studying business administration and innovation and entrepreneurship, as well as a specialization in professional sales.

My family and I moved to the United States seven years ago in search of better education and safety. I am a first-generation student, although I have an older sister, Sandra, and she was born blind with a mental disability due to prematurity. She is a miracle;, my mom had only been five months pregnant when Sandy had to be born. Despite the obstacles life threw at her, she never gave up and became the fifth-fastest Paralympic track runner in the world. And she has played such a huge role in how I deal with obstacles in my life because Sandy motivates me to never let adversity get in the way of achieving my dreams.

Thanks to my mom’s sacrifices, moving here has provided me with amazing opportunities that have helped shape me into the person I am today.

Although it has been a once in a lifetime opportunity, it also has not been easy. Not only is the immigration system in this country very hard to deal with, but I also used to not speak English, which made it hard to communicate. Therefore, I decided to start watching movies in English, reading in English, making a video diary to improve my word pronunciation, and worked extremely hard in ESL to learn this new language. Within three months, I tested out of ESL and started taking pre-Ap and AP classes. I finished high school in Austin, Texas, at Vandegrift High School, and then I decided to attend UT Dallas.

Although I had a memorable high school experience, it was not until I came to UT Dallas that I truly found myself. This University did not only believe in me and my talent, but it also has helped me navigate life as an immigrant in the U.S.

I love UT Dallas because it’s such a diverse campus that cultivates a culture of individuality. I truly felt accepted at UT Dallas. Not only did I find some of the coolest members of the Hispanic community here, but I’ve also had the chance to meet people from all across the world! This has given me a whole different perspective and has taught me that every person we meet teaches us some sort of lesson. 

I have truly found my family away from home here at UT Dallas. This campus is filled with incredible students and staff, and I could not be more grateful to my family for giving me this once in a lifetime opportunity of studying in a different country. I cannot wait to graduate and show my mother that all of her sacrifices were not in vain, and thanks to her, I now have the tools to succeed.

I don't know what the future holds since sponsorship after graduation is hard to obtain at the moment, but I do know that I will always cherish my experiences here at JSOM and UT Dallas and that this school will help me find my vocation. 

Sofía Martinez-Murillo

Sofía Martinez-Murillo

Sofía is a junior undergraduate Marketing student who is passionate about digital marketing and branding. She is currently a Social Media Marketing Ambassador for UT Dallas’ Dining Facilities and is a member of the Professional Program in Marketing. In her spare time, she is most likely volunteering for organizations such as UNICEF or painting with her friends.  Read more articles

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