PBS Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month!

Maria Hinojosa

From September 15th to October 15th, BS will be celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month with a selection of programming ranging from  America By The Numbers with Maria Hinojosa (above) to Sesame Street.

On Monday, September 29th, PBS will air the Hispanic Heritage Awards – the first time the network has  done so. Honorees include artists/performers, scientists, educators, innovators, public officials and community and business leaders chosen by the Hispanic Heritage Foundation.

For more details, follow the jump.


September 15-October 15, 2014


ARLINGTON, VA; September 4, 2014 — PBS today announced that THE HISPANIC HERITAGE AWARDS (2014) will air Monday, September 29, 2014, 10:00-11:00 p.m. ET, the first time PBS will broadcast the awards ceremony. Filmed at the historic Warner Theater in Washington, DC, the program will honor recipients of the 27th annual Hispanic Heritage Awards. Honorees include celebrities, physicians, scientists, educators, innovators, public officials and community and business leaders selected by the Hispanic Heritage Foundation.

The awards, established by the White House in 1987 to commemorate the creation of Hispanic Heritage Month in the U.S., are considered among the highest honors for Latinos by Latinos and recognize notable Latinos who have had a positive impact on America and the world in various fields. The 2014 honorees include, Education: the Hayden High School Robotics Team; Sports: Bernie Williams; Leadership: Henry R. Munoz III; Vision: Zoe Saldaña; STEM: Rep. Ruben Hinojosa; Master of Arts: Pepe Aguilar; Legend: Carlos Vives; Special Recognition: 65th Infantry Regiment of the US Army “The Borinqueneers.”

As part of Hispanic Heritage Month and year round, PBS offers programs that chronicle the rich and varied history of Latinos, including: AMERICA BY THE NUMBERS WITH MARIA HINOJOSA, a series dedicated to examining the new American mainstream, premiering October 4; segments of the second season of FINDING YOUR ROOTS, airing Tuesdays, September 23-November 25; the documentary LIFE ON THE LINE: COMING OF AGE BETWEEN TWO WORLDS (check local listings); and a selection of encore presentations.

PBS is committed to airing programming that inspires greater cultural understanding and appreciation of our diversity as Americans,” said Beth Hoppe, Chief Programming Executive and General Manager of General Audience Programming for PBS. “Our broadcast of the 2014 Hispanic Heritage Awards and the robust content being offered on-air and online showcase the rich contributions of Latino Americans in our history.”

Even the youngest PBS viewers can celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month when SESAME STREET premieres “Number 15’s Quinceañera” on October 6 (with a half-hour version on October 9). Abby and Zoe learn how to compromise and give Number 15 the best quinceañera ever.

Looking ahead to 2015, PBS will air a new season of VOCES, produced by Latino Public Broadcasting. VOCES is PBS’ signature Latino arts and culture documentary showcase and the only ongoing national television series devoted to exploring and celebrating the rich diversity of the Latino cultural experience. Also returning for a new season in 2015 is GENEALOGY ROADSHOW,which combines history and science to uncover fascinating stories of diverse Americans. This season features stories from St. Louis, Philadelphia and New Orleans-area residents with family ties that will link to the larger community history, revealing the rich cultural tapestry of America.

PBS’ celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month extends beyond the broadcast and onto pbs.org, where Latino Public Broadcasting (LPB) will premiere new online short films. They include Frontera! Revolt and Rebellion on the Río Grande and the three-part New American Girls. An animated short from award-winning Chicano media artist John Jota Leaños, Frontera! tells the story of the Pueblo Revolt of 1680, a pan-Indian uprising that successfully expelled the Spanish occupiers from the Rio Grande region. New American Girls profiles three “DREAMers” — young adults brought to the U.S. as children by undocumented parents — who remain in limbo without a pathway to citizenship.

PBS viewers can also watch hours of free PBS programming online and on their own time via the PBS video player on pbs.org, that includes a special collection of new and PBS archive programs, including the six-part LATINO AMERICANS, profiles of Roberto Clemente and John Leguizamo, musical performances and an extended interview with Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

New Programming


Saturdays, October 4-November 22, 2014, 6:30-7:00 p.m. ET.

Journalist Maria Hinojosa hosts the first national series dedicated to examining the new American mainstream — the growing numbers of African Americans, Asians, Latinos, mixed race, immigrants, women, youth and LGBTs whose growing purchasing power and influence over the arts, culture, commerce and the outcome of elections are affecting every aspect of contemporary life. Each program focuses on stories from a corner of the nation, amplified “by the numbers” — a distillation of the latest statistical information about population, health, education, quality of life and consumer trends.


Tuesdays, September 23-November 25, 2014, 8:00-9:00 p.m. ET

Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr. has been helping people identify relatives hidden for generations. Professor Gates employs a team of genealogists and the world’s leading geneticists to uncover the origins of a diverse group of 30 guests. Gates treks through layers of ancestral history, uncovers secrets and surprises, and shares life-altering discoveries. Among his guests this season are Rebecca Lobo, who finds out that her Spanish ancestor fought side by side with a famous revolutionary and was forced to flee Spain; Chef Aaron Sanchez, who discovers that his family’s treasured Mexican roots include people who were Spaniards, Africans and Native Americans; and Jessica Alba, an actress who proudly embraces her Mexican-American heritage but learns that she descends from Jewish and Mayan ancestors and King Louis XIV’s official cartographer.


September 2014 (check local listings)

This half-hour documentary follows a year in the life of 11-year-old Kimberly Torrez. Living steps from the border in Nogales, Mexico, Kimberly crosses each day to attend school just across the line in Arizona. Kimberly’s unemployed father, stricken with Hepatitis C, needs a liver transplant; Kimberly’s mother desperately awaits the visa that will allow her to live in the U.S. with her American children if her husband dies. A slice-of-life portrait told through Kimberly’s eyes, the film illuminates the changing face of America through the story of this one family.

Encore Programming


September 2014 (check local listings)

  • “Precious Knowledge” ? Tucson High School’s Mexican American Studies Program became a national model of educational success, with 100 percent of enrolled students graduating from high school and 85 percent going on to college. When Arizona lawmakers passed a bill giving the state superintendent power to abolish ethnic studies classes, student leaders mobilized to save their program.


  • “The Graduates” ? This two-part special examines the many roots of the Latino dropout crisis through the eyes of six inspiring young students who are part of an ongoing effort to increase graduation rates for a growing Latino population. The student profiles offer a first-hand perspective on the challenges facing many Latino students, including over-crowded schools, crime-ridden neighborhoods, teen pregnancy and pressure to contribute to the family finances.


  • “The State of Arizona” ? This vérité documentary captures the explosive emotions and complex realities behind Arizona’s headline-grabbing struggle with illegal immigration. The film tells the stories of Arizonans on all sides of this divisive issue — activists, politicians, Latino immigrants, controversial Sheriff Joe Arpaio, ranchers and others.


  • “Las Marthas” ? The annual debutante ball in Laredo, Texas, lasts an entire month and coincides with George Washington’s birthday. For more than a century, the city’s coming-out celebrations have involved intricate paeans to America’s colonial past. In 1939, the Society of Martha Washington was founded to usher each year’s debutantes (called “Marthas”) into proper society. The centerpiece of the festivities is the Martha Washington Pageant and Ball, when the girls are presented. Still, the Washington celebration has managed to persevere and even flourish, thanks in large part to the Mexican-American girls who carry this gilded tradition on their young shoulders.


September 2014 (check local listings)

Examine a new frontier that could reshape education — the importance of breaking out of the classroom and connecting students to the wider world. The program chronicles powerful stories that show that young people, when given the opportunity to participate in solving real problems and pursuing projects important to them, will excel.

POV “Reportero”

September 2014 (check local listings)

Follow a veteran reporter and his colleagues at Zeta, a Tijuana-based independent newsweekly, as they stubbornly ply their trade in one of the deadliest places in the world for members of the media.


September 2014 (check local listings)

Explore the mysterious true story of Loreta Velasquez, a Cuban immigrant who was one of the estimated 1,000 women who secretly served as soldiers during the Civil War. Why has her story been erased from the history books?


September 2014 (check local listings)

This documentary examines the life and mysterious death of Mexican-American journalist Ruben Salazar, a mainstream, establishment Los Angeles Times reporter who became a supporter and primary chronicler of the radical Chicano movement of the late 1960s. Killed by a law enforcement officer in 1970, Salazar became an instant martyr to the Latino community — which had often criticized his reporting.

SESAME STREET “The Latinization of Marco”

Thursday, October 9 (one-hour version); Friday, October 10 (half-hour version)

Gina is reading a book to Marco about the Spanish names for animals. When Rosita asks what she’s doing, Gina explains that since Marco was born in Guatemala, where people speak Spanish, she wants him (and herself) to learn Spanish, too. Rosita a little guitarra for them, then gets more instruments — claves, maracas, guiro and a bongo — and sings a song about musica. Rosita tells Gina about baile, the Spanish word for dance, and dances the tango, merengue and conga. She tells Gina and Marco all about different comidas, the Spanish word for food, and chefs deliver a delicious feast for them to enjoy. Rosita says that with musica, baile and comida, you have to have a fiesta with your amigos!

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Photo courtesy of PBS