NEW BRITAIN, Conn. (WTNH) – Thursday is the beginning of National Hispanic Heritage Month. Gov. Ned Lamont and several state and local leaders held a kick-off event at a Puerto Rican restaurant in New Britain.

They say this month is a celebration of being an American.

“For as long as there has been a notion about America and the United States, there have been Hispanics here contributing to our culture, contributing to our lives,” said Jason Rojas, Democratic House Majority Leader.

“This is what I think makes America great,” Lamont said. “The incredible diversity of people, respecting people for where they come from, reminding people where they come from, being proud of people for where they come from.”

National Hispanic Heritage Month is an opportunity to recognize and celebrate the contributions and influence of Hispanic Americans to the history, culture, and achievements of the United States.