• Amanda Olivo

Six Facts and Ways to Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month!

Dropping some knowledge about Hispanic Heritage Month and ways to celebrate!

I love my Hispanic culture, and am incredibly proud to be a Do-Rican (Dominican and Puerto Rican) from New York! Unfortunately, growing up learning about Hispanic influence on United States history was not something taught, acknowledged, let alone talked about. I grew up in a town in which, I was very much part of the minority. Even today, I feel I didn't get to truly embrace my Hispanic culture and heritage until college when I had the opportunity to be surrounded by a larger group of individuals from the same or similar cultural background. (I will save my identity crisis woes for another time) For me, being Hispanic is ALL about sabor or flavor! Flavor of life, family, food, dance, and just the spice of life! As a Hispanic American, there is a TON for me to learn and understand about the significant contributions the Hispanic/Latinx community has made and I'm Hispanic...so let's learn together.

Here are my top 6 things to know for Hispanic Heritage Month and ways to celebrate:

1. When is Hispanic Heritage Month?

Hispanic Heritage Month takes place from September 15th- October 15th annually in the United States. While originally started as a one week celebration by President Lyndon Johnson, it was expanded to encompass a whole month in 1988 by the Reagan administration. The month acknowledges the significant contributions and impact Hispanic Americans have made on the history of the United States.

2. Why does it take place from September 15th-October 15th?

Hispanic Heritage Month starts on September 15th as it is the anniversary declaring independence for many five Hispanic countries (Costa Rica, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Nicaragua). Additionally, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence on September 16th and the 18th respectively. Throughout the 30-day period, a number of other Hispanic nations also celebrate independence days, which resulted in the celebration through October 15th.

3. What is the difference between Hispanic and Latinx?

Hispanic usually refers to people from origin of Spanish speaking countries (Puerto Rico, Mexico, Caribbean islands, Central and Latin America) regardless of race. While Latino/a more specifically refers to countries in Latin America (which include countries such as Brazil, a Portuguese speaking country), many individuals from these countries use the two terms interchangeably, myself included. Latinx is a gender-neutral term used to describe individuals from Hispanic or Latin American background.

4. Hispanics now make up 60.6 million of the Untied States population as of 2019. Of that number, Mexicans make up the largest group following Puerto Ricans.

5. As of 2018, 4.65 million businesses were Hispanic owned.

6. Celebrate Hispanic Heritage month by supporting local Latinx run businesses, reading Latinx authors, listening to Hispanic music, dinning on a full menu of Latinx food, and following artist! We LOVE our food and music and absolutely is the best way to celebrate! Dine out on some local food (a full plate of rice and beans is HIGHLY recommended). Find a virtual salsa or bachata class. Read books by Hispanic authors! Or just get to know a friend or colleague of Hispanic/Latinx background better. Ask them about their family and maybe you will even get lucky enough to be invited over for dinner...or at least you would in my house!

Here are some additional resources for teachers to educate your students on Hispanic Heritage Month!

Hispanic Americans have so much to be proud of, especially the many ways we have contributed to the American culture and continue to influence all aspects of our country. So now that you know a bit more about Hispanic Heritage Month, how will you be celebrating?

For additional resources, stayed tuned for upcoming blog post with Latinx beauty brands and authors to read and follow.

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