Hispanic Heritage Month 2021

During National Hispanic Heritage Month, we celebrate the contributions, cultures and histories of Americans whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.

The observation began as Hispanic Heritage Week in 1968 under President Lyndon Johnson. Twenty years later, President Ronald Reagan expanded the celebration to cover a 30-day period between Sept. 15 and Oct. 15. Sept. 15 is significant because it’s the anniversary of independence for Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on Sept. 16 and Sept. 18, respectively. 

Here are some events taking place throughout Hispanic Heritage Month in Arkansas. If you want your celebration added to the list, send an email to [email protected]

September 15

11 a.m. — Hispanic Heritage Month Kickoff at UAFS

The University of Arkansas – Fort Smith begins a month-long slate of events hosted by the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and the Hispanic Heritage Month Planning Committee. Today’s festivities are scheduled from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Campus Center Breezeway.

2:30 p.m. — Hispanic Heritage Month Kickoff at ATU

The Department of Diversity, Inclusion and Contemporary Student Services at Arkansas Tech University will honor Latinx/Hispanic communities for all they endure and for their amazing contributions to the world. Guests are invited to Hindsman Bell Tower for food, food and reflections.

6 p.m. — Hispanic Heritage Month Independence Day

The University of Arkansas is hosting an Independence Day Celebration from 6 to 8 p.m. on the Union Mall on the Fayetteville campus. Guests can join University Programs, the Multicultural Center and New Student and Family Programs in celebrating and learning about the many Latin American countries that share this anniversary of independence. This event features tasty treats like pupusas, fruit and candy kits, as well as a live mariachi band. 

September 18

10 a.m. — Bilingual Yoga

Join in person (social distanced) for a free bilingual yoga class for the whole family provided by Lydia Bush. Bring your own mats. Class will take place on the rooftop of the Central Arkansas Library System’s parking garage next to Main Library downtown. Registration is required: [email protected] Call 501-320-5785 for more information.

September 21

11 a.m. — Virtual Spanish Book Discussion at CALS

Central Arkansas Library System will host a livestream discussion of the book La Casa en Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros. The event will be presented from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m on Zoom.

September 22

6 p.m. — CALS Film Series: Brimstone and Glory

Throughout Hispanic Heritage Month, Central Arkansas Library System will host a virtual film series. In Brimstone and Glory, plunge into the fire of Tultepec, Mexico, the site of the National Pyrotechnic Festival. No registration is required.

September 25

Rogers Public Library Virtual Celebration

The Rogers Public Library will host a virtual art show on its Facebook page highlighting work from local students. 

September 26

1 p.m. — NWA Hispanic Heritage Festival

The Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce will host the 12th annual event from 1 to 5 p.m. in downtown Fayetteville. There will also be a soccer tournament Sept. 24-26 at Lake Fayetteville.

September 29

6 p.m. — CALS Film Series: Landfall

Throughout Hispanic Heritage Month, Central Arkansas Library System will host a virtual film series. Through shard-like glimpses of everyday life in post-Hurricane Maria Puerto Rico, Landfall is a cautionary tale for our times. Set against the backdrop of protests that toppled the governor in 2019, the film offers a prismatic portrait of collective trauma and resistance as Puerto Ricans navigate dismantled social services and newcomers eager to profit. No registration is required.

September 30

12:15 p.m. — Keynote speech by Angela Vivar, M.Ed.

The University of Arkansas – Fort Smith will host a presentation by Angela Vivar from 12:15 to 1:15 p.m. in the Reynolds Room of the Campus Center.

October 2

11 a.m. — Hispanic Heritage Month Art and Food Festival

Join Seis Puentes in celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month. The festival will feature food, art, music and dance. The event will take place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Argenta Plaza in North Little Rock and admission is free.

12 p.m. — Festival del Mariachi 

The Latin Art Organization of Arkansas will celebrate Mexican heritage through mariachi music, traditional ballet folklórico dancing, food vendors, information booths and crafts stations. Performers include Mariachi Joya Azteca, Mariachi Nuevo Tlaquepaque, Mariachi Los Potrillos, Mariachi Amistad, Mariachi Esencia de México, Ballet Folklórico Grupo Libertad, Ballet Folklorico Herencia de Mexico and Voces Divinas de Mexico. The inaugural festival is scheduled for 12 to 5:30 p.m. in downtown Springdale.

6 p.m. — SoNA Beyond: Voces Latinas

The Symphony of Northwest Arkansas is launching a new music series with a free performance at the Fayetteville Public Library Event Center curated by four local Hispanic musicians. Prior to the indoor concert, a free outdoor event is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. on the library’s Gathering Glade. Attendees can enjoy culinary offerings by local Latinx chefs and live salsa music by Son Sin Gnero. Masks and social distancing will be required indoors and registration is requested here

October 6

6 p.m. — CALS Film Series: Voices of the Sea

Throughout Hispanic Heritage Month, Central Arkansas Library System will host a virtual film series. In Voices of the Sea, a mother yearns to escape the hardships of Cuba for a potentially fatal American dream. No registration is required.

6:30 p.m. — LGBTQ+ Bilingual Workshop

Dr. Luann Racher from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences will lead this bilingual discussion focused on how to support transgender family and friends. The virtual event will take place via Zoom.

October 8

9 a.m. — Reset: Reimagining Arkansas’s Future | HWOA Annual Conference

The Hispanic Women’s Organization of Arkansas will host its annual conference virtually this year. Registration is open for the event which will highlight programs, present research findings and feature discussions of issues affecting diverse communities in Arkansas.

October 9

4 p.m. — Rare Conversations with Astronauts José Hernández and John Herrington

The Museum of Native American History is hosting a virtual conversation with these two NASA astronauts who will discuss their experiences in the field and how those experiences have engaged with the broader narrative of Indigenuity. The event will be streamed live on Facebook.

October 12

5:30 p.m. — Hispanic Heritage Month Open Forum

As part of its month-long celebration, University of Arkansas – Fort Smith will host an open forum from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the Reynolds Room in the Campus Center.

October 13

6 p.m. — CALS Film Series: The Infiltrators 

Throughout Hispanic Heritage Month, Central Arkansas Library System will host a virtual film series. The Infiltrators is a true story of two young immigrants who get purposefully arrested by Border Patrol, and put in a shadowy for-profit detention center. The film follows Marco and Viri, members of a group of radical Dreamers who are on a mission to stop deportations. And the best place to stop deportations, they believe, is in detention. No registration is required.

October 16

10 a.m. — Bilingual Yoga

Join in person (social distanced) for a free bilingual yoga class for the whole family provided by Lydia Bush. Bring your own mats. Class will take place on the rooftop of the Central Arkansas Library System’s parking garage next to Main Library downtown. Registration is required: [email protected] Call 501-320-5785 for more information.

All Month

Community Cookbook

Rogers Public Library has collected recipes highlighting Hispanic cuisine and created a community cookbook that will be available for free at the library.

Displays at UAFS

The University of Arkansas – Fort Smith will install flags in the Smith Pendergraft Campus Center and have book displays in Boreham Library. The university will also highlight Hispanic students, faculty, staff and alumni on its social media pages through short profile pieces and day-in-the-life takeovers.

Grab and Go Bags at CALS

The Central Arkansas Library System will have grab and go bags in the Children’s Library. Families can pick them up and learn to create crafts celebrating Latinx cultures.