Cultural diversity is what makes our country unique. With the recognition of Hispanic Heritage Month from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, Americans of all backgrounds should embrace, celebrate and educate themselves on the contributions of a growing demographic within the United States.

Modern political vitriol often casts people of Hispanic descent in a negative light. Despite their working and artistic contributions in the so-called melting pot that is the United States, Hispanics have been deemed by many as “less than.” That is not the case, and the numbers prove it.

A 2017 population survey from the Bureau of Labor Statistics identified 26.8 million Hispanics or Latinos in the United States workforce. About 4.4 million Latinos own businesses, contributing considerably to an annual economy that benefits everyone. On top of that, an estimated 58.9 million Hispanics currently reside in the United States, comprising 18.1% of the national population; more than any minority group.

The only other country with a higher Hispanic population? Mexico itself — according to CNN’s analysis of the U.S. census.

Granted, Hispanics are not the only contributors to the United States. Yet their economic impact is strong enough to leave a mark on the nation’s economy. It is one of the few reasons why Hisapnic Heritage Month is necessary — to explain and illustrate the significance of a marginalized community that gives its time, money and art to a country which sees them as different. On the contrary, their input is undeniably American.

With this presence comes cultural influence. Artistically, Hispanics celebrate this month with annual events and programs that highlight their contributions and history.

Across campus, offices like Multicultural Affairs and the Center for Mexican American Studies are hosting performances that recognize the diversity and impact of Hispanic identity.

Though their prominence and influence extends beyond one month, Hispanic Heritage Month is one small step toward rightful recognition and respect for a community that has done so much for our country.

The Shorthorn Editorial Board is made up of opinion editor Jacob Reyes; Editor-in-Chief Reese Oxner; associate news editor Rocio Hernandez; Amanda Padilla, life and entertainment editor; engagement editor Edward Medeles; multimedia editor Anna Geyer, news reporter Elizabeth Jones and copy editor Andrew Walter.

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