BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Dating all the way back to 1968, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed a bill designating the week of September 15 as Latinx heritage week.
Now, Latinx heritage is a month-long in order to include all the independence days of the Latinx cultures within the U.S.
September 15 marks the start of Latinx heritage month and one local community leader explains what this day means to her.
“To me Hispanic Heritage Month means to celebrate our rich diverse culture,” said Reyna Olaguez, the Executive Director of South Kern Sol.
Olaguez said that this month is important because it can serve as a reminder to continue to lift up the community.
She is grateful that she gets to shape young minds at South Kern Sol where she teaches the youth the power of their voice through storytelling.
“They get to see themselves in me, they get to dream, they get to start dreaming and thinking ‘I want to be like Reyna.’ I want to be that woman who is an executive director at a company and inspire young people to create change in their community,” said Olaguez.
Olaguez admits that getting to where she is now as a Latina woman did not come without adversity: “It hasn't been easy, you know I had a dream and I’ve had mentors and one of the times a mentor was speaking in a public engagement in Sacramento. It was Senator Darrell Steinberg and he said find something you love and follow your heart.”
Olaguez said she wouldn't be where she is without having mentors but recognizes that sometimes black and brown students don't always have access to those resources which is why she encourages them to seek out South Kern Sol.
This month she is excited to celebrate Latinx heritage month.
“I’m going to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month by lifting up Latinos, Hispanics, and people of color that are doing amazing work in Kern County.”
Olaguez stressed the importance of supporting one another not only during LatinX heritage month but throughout the entire year.