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Honoring Hispanic Heritage Month and R/P in Latin America

President Biden, in his issued proclamation, revered the 62 million people who identity as Latin American/Hispanic living in the U.S. for their “faith and drive which has pushed our country to grow, prosper, and pursue its highest ideals.'' For those of you who do not know, today is Hispanic Heritage Month. The celebration takes place from September 15th - October 15th. Originally, Congress declared a week-long celebration in 1968; however, it was decided to extend the celebration for an entire month almost two decades ago.

The reason it is celebrated beginning September 15th is because this marks the independence day for many Spanish-speaking countries including Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua (U.S. Census Bureau). More and more Latin American countries are using restorative practice to “confront the social consequences of poverty, and violence” that is prevalent in their respective communities according to the International Institute for Restorative Practices. There are individuals who are actively living and working in Spanish-speaking countries to bring RP to schools, prisons, and NGOs. The goal is to reach people who traditionally would be excluded from RP because they lack the resources and know-how. Some of the neighborhoods where individuals reside in these countries experience extreme forms of violence.

Restorative practice is a way to heal these communities and repair the harm that has occurred. One of the top priorities in Biden’s Administration is to repair the broken immigration system as many of our Latin American populus in the U.S. emigrated from Spanish-speaking countries which we celebrate today. Child poverty continues to plague the Hispanic community, developing chronic illness and truancy in schools. In an effort to build a robust infrastructure that supports Latin Americans/Hispa

nics in this country, we are to repair the systems that have caused harm in the first place. Highlighting some of these issues with the community and identifying how restorative practice can start the catalyst for change is our hope for Hispanic Heritage Month.

Empowering Latin American/Hispanic communities to be stronger, better, and restorative.

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