Latinx Heritage Month— formerly known as Hispanic Heritage Month—begins on September 15th and ends on October 15th. During this month, we celebrate Latinx communities and individuals and honor their contributions to our society.
Moving away from the term Hispanic and adopting the gender-neutral term Latinx is an important shift away from Spanish colonialism. According to sociologist G. Cristina Mora, Hispanic applies to a sense of community through a connection to Spain, while Latino(Latinx) applies to a sense of community through a history of colonization from Spain. Furthermore, Hispanic is a term that was first introduced by the Nixon administration in 1970 to label individuals from Spanish speaking countries.
Latinx is a progressive term that refers to all people of Latin American descent; so, anyone born or descended from someone that was born in one of the 33 countries in Latin America is considered Latinx. It is an inclusive term that is gender-neutral and aims at including individuals from Brazil and other non-Spanish speaking Latin American countries that were not included under the word Hispanic.
Today, there are roughly 61 million Latinx individuals living in the United States, making us the largest “minority.” We are a diverse and complex group of people as we come from a large spectrum of cultural traditions and histories, social classes, and languages.
Latinx Heritage Month started out as Hispanic Heritage Week in 1968 under President Johnson. In 1988, President Reagan expanded the week into a month-long commemoration that begins on September 15th because it is the anniversary of independence of five Latinx countries (Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua).
Here are different ways to honor and validate the incredible contributions that Latinx communities and individuals have made to this country:
To validate the Latinx presence in this country, it is important that everyone educate themselves on Latinx cultures and history.
-Read up in Latinx historical leaders, legacies, and landmarks.
-Visit museums that feature Latinx exhibits that teach about our history.
-Watch documentaries and read books about Latinx history.
-Do research online to educate yourself on the current political climate concerning Latinx communities.
Another way of honoring Latinx communities is by immersing yourself in Latinx cultures.
-Visit art museums that showcase Latinx artists, or history museums that exhibit Latinx histories.
-Listen to the beauty of Latinx music. Experience the different genres of music (from reggaeton to mariachi) and dance to the most famous Latinx artist’s hit songs.
-Find cookbooks that feature different Latinx cuisines (Mexican food, Cuban food, Colombian food, etc) and create the delicious recipes in your own kitchen.
-Watch movies and TV shows by Latinx directors that accurately depict the different Latinx cultures.
To maintain the influence of Latinx communities in our country, Latinx Heritage Month is a great time to support Latinx-owned businesses and organizations.
-Buy beauty products from Latinx-owned beauty brands
-If you’re eating out, make sure to dine-in at a local Latinx-owned restaurant.
-Shop from Latinx-owned stores and labels.
-Donate time and money to Latinx charities.
-Follow Latinx influencers on social media. (LINK)
LATINX HERITAGE MONTH EVENT
Latinx Heritage Month has been going on for decades and is widely celebrated throughout the country—every year the president gives a Presidential Proclamation to mark and honor Latinx Heritage Month.
Most cities and local communities hold different events to commemorate Latinx heritage.Search online for Latinx Heritage Month activities hosted by your city, school, or other local community.