Hispanic Heritage Month takes place in the US annually from 15th September to 15th October as a time to recognise and celebrate the many contributions, diverse cultures and extensive histories of the American Latinx community. Beginning in 1968, Hispanic Heritage Month was originally observed as “Hispanic Heritage Week” under President Lyndon Johnson, but it was later extended to a month during President Ronald Reagan’s term in 1988.
Since then, the month has been celebrated nationwide through festivals, art shows, conferences, community gatherings and much more. The month also celebrates the independence days of several Latinx American countries, including: Cost Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua on 15th September, Mexico on 16th September and Chile on 18th September. They also include holidays that recognise Hispanic contributions such as Virgin Islands-Puerto Rico Friendship Day that is celebrated in the US Virgin Islands.
As PHD recognises the contributions and influence of Hispanic Americans to the history and culture of the US, the PHD US team is highlighting a few Latinx PHDers who exemplify the PHD spirit.
What is your role? How long have you been at PHD?
Welbers: Associate Director, Out of Home Planning & Buying. I have been here for five years.
What is your Hispanic background?
Welbers: I was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina and although I only lived there until I was five, my parents raised my brother and I as if we were still living in Argentina. They spoke only Spanish to us at home, cooked us Argentina dishes (mainly my dad on the BBQ) and kept us connected with our family.
What Hispanic traditions do you incorporate in your daily life?
Welbers: I drink mate (almost) every day. It’s a tea drink that you may have seen in a tea bag here in the states, but in Argentina we drink it out of a gourd with a special filtering straw. People drink it at home as well as in social settings where it’s passed around.
What does Hispanic Heritage Month mean to you? Why is it important to have this type of month?
Welbers: I think it’s important to highlight all the differences that exist within the overarching Hispanic culture. People are often surprised by how different one Hispanic culture can be to another.
What advice can you give other Hispanics/Latinos pursuing a career in media?
Welbers: Leverage your firsthand knowledge of the Hispanic audience. Hispanics are a large part of many companies’ consumer bases and knowing and understand their culture is a huge asset.
Fun question, what is your favorite Hispanic dish?
Welbers: A traditional asado (BBQ) enjoyed outside with family and friends. An asado often starts at lunch and goes well into the night with chefs alternating so they can take a siesta.