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National Hispanic Heritage Month Celebrations Underway Across NYC

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- National Hispanic Heritage Month is well underway.

CBS2's Kiran Dhillon found out how people in New York are celebrating.

Lehman College (Credit: CBS2)

Events to celebrate are taking place all month across the Tri-State area, including at Lehman College in the Bronx, where more than 50% of students are Hispanic.

"We have a wide range of events that include films, poetry, panels, guest speakers," Melissa Castillo Planas, an assistant professor at the college, said.

The college is designated a Hispanic-serving institution. It says it's important to acknowledge the contributions Hispanics have made to this country.

"The first European language in the United States was actually Spanish. Latinos have fought in every single war, including the American Revolution, so we are part of the very fabric of this country the way we are part of the fabric of this campus," Castillo Planas said.

Watch: Bronx Exhibit Honors Hispanic Heritage Month --


Hispanic Heritage Week was first established by President Lyndon Johnson in 1968. Twenty years later in the 1980s, it was expanded into a one-month long event.

Still, students at Lehman say they want to celebrate Hispanic culture all year. That's why many banded together to recently create the Latinx Student Alliance.

"It is a culmination of all Latinx people. We're not just celebrating Dominicans, Puerto Ricans, Mexicans, we're celebrating everyone," said Ariel Vargas, president of the Latinx Student Alliance.

"To come together as a campus and as a community, whether you are Latino or not, to say being Latino is something to be proud of, it's something to celebrate," Castillo Planas said.

Hispanic Heritage Month runs until Oct. 15.

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