KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Each year, National Hispanic Heritage Month is observed from Sept. 15 through Oct. 15 by celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens and residents whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America.

“The observation started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period starting on Sept. 15 and ending on Oct. 15. It was enacted into law on Aug. 17, 1988, on the approval of Public Law 100-402,” according to the Library of Congress.

The U.S. observes it split across September and October because Sept. 15 is a key date in the history of several Latin American countries. Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua declared independence from Spain on Sept. 15, 1821.

WATE’s coverage and celebration in East Tennessee is an eye-opening and exciting experience for our viewers, as well as a perfect opportunity for local businesses, nonprofits, organizations and education services to align with a positive news series.

We at WATE 6 On Your Side are proud to share these stories celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month and the local contributions here in East Tennessee.