Lulac Council President Conducts a History Class

Lulac President Rudy Padilla of Council 11085 did an amazing job presenting the history of Lulac at a Shawnee Mission, Kansas School in Proclamation of Hispanic Heritage Month.

 “My students said that they learned more listening to Rudy than sitting in their history class.”

Connie Springfield, Ed.S. Associate Principal 
Shawnee Mission Northwest High School
12701 West 67th Street Shawnee, KS 66216

Conveying accurate information to future generations has to be a high priority. In Celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, we are given a great opportunity for all educational outlets to explain the reason for the recognition and celebration of this culture. How far back in history should the education go? Some amazing finds suggests the earth is millions of years old. Learning when humans began and how the world was populated can be extrapolated to where we are today. Proof that the culture we know today as the Hispanic Culture is hundreds if not thousands of years old. Their existence on this continent can be verified long before the west was won. Long before 1776 and long before 1492. What is also known is there is an underlying trait of a peaceful and generous culture that today is laser focused on protecting family. That faithfulness translates to their love of country and love of life. Today’s Hispanics have helped if not individually conquered much of what was unknown and has excelled in all genres including todays most sophisticated technologies.

Hispanic Heritage Month actually began as a commemorative week when it was first introduced in June of 1968 by California Congressman George E. Brown. The push to recognize the contributions of the Hispanic community had gained momentum throughout the 1960s when the civil rights movement was at its peak and there was a growing awareness of the United States’ multicultural identities. Brown, who represented East Los Angeles and a large portion of the San Gabriel Valley—both heavily populated by members of the Hispanic and Latinx communities—wanted to recognize the role played by those communities throughout American history.

On September 17, 1968, Congress passed Public Law 90-48, officially authorizing and requesting the president to issue annual proclamations declaring September 15 and 16 to mark the beginning of National Hispanic Heritage Week and called upon the “people of the United States, especially the educational community, to observe such week with appropriate ceremonies and activities.” President Lyndon B. Johnson issued the first Hispanic Heritage Week presidential proclamation the same day.

From 1968 until 1988, Presidents Nixon, Ford, Carter and Reagan all issued the yearly proclamations, setting aside a week to honor Hispanic Americans. In 1987 U.S. Representative Esteban E. Torres of California proposed the expanding the observance to cover its current 31-day period. Torres wanted more time so that the nation could “properly observe and coordinate events and activities to celebrate Hispanic culture and achievement.”

In 1988, Senator Paul Simon (D-Illinois), submitted a similar bill that successfully passed Congress and was signed into law by President Ronald Reagan on August 17, 1988. And on September 14, 1989, President George H.W. Bush (who had been a sponsor of the original Hispanic Heritage Week resolution while serving in the House in 1968) became the first president to declare the 31-day period from September 15 to October 15 as National Hispanic Heritage Month.

The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), founded in 1929, is the oldest and most widely respected Hispanic civil rights organization in the United States of America. LULAC was created at a time in our country’s history when Hispanics were denied basic civil and human rights, despite contributions to American society. The founders of LULAC created an organization that empowers its members to create and develop opportunities where they are needed most.

In 1945, a California LULAC Council successfully sued to integrate the Orange County School System, which had been segregated on the grounds that Mexican children were “more poorly clothed and mentally inferior to white children.” Additionally, in 1954, LULAC brought another landmark case, Hernandez vs. the State of Texas, to protest the fact that a Mexican American had never been called to jury duty in the state of Texas. The Supreme Court ruled this exclusion unconstitutional.

The Shawnee Mission Lulac Council #11085 was founded in Shawnee Mission, Kansas to perpetuate the mission of the now National Organization. Come join in and support this phenomenal culture.

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