Wednesday, September 15, marked the beginning of Latinx Heritage Month. This date is also the anniversary of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua gaining their independence. Latinx/Hispanic Heritage month was started in 1968 by President Lyndon B. Johnson and was made into a month-long celebration by President Ronald Reagan. Throughout the month, the Latinx community, its leaders, and its culture are honored and celebrated due to the significant contributions the community makes to American society. September 15-October 15 is a time to educate people about Latinx culture and commemorate the rich Latinx history and traditions.
The Latinx community in the United States is a rapidly growing and extremely diverse community that encompasses the heritages of several different countries and their subsequent individual cultures. Cities around the U.S. are celebrating the month with extensive programming and events. National Public Radio (NPR) is also running special programs, playlists, and podcasts that are specifically focused on Latinx/Hispanic content. The well-known “Tiny Desk Concert” features artists like the Colombian indie rock band, Diamante Electrónico, J Balvin, Sech, Maye, Yendry, Prince Royce, Silvana Estrada, Nicki Nicole, Eme Alfonso, and Camila Cabello. A few of the podcasts that are also available are titled Alt.Latino, Code Switch, and Radio Ambulante. All these titles and more can be found on the NPR website.
At the White House, President Biden made a statement about Latinx/Hispanic Heritage Month in which he recognized his cabinet secretaries who identify as Hispanic: Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas, Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona and Small Business Administrator Isabel Guzman. He also noted the influence of the Latinx community during the pandemic as healthcare providers, front line workers, and scientists as well as his support of their community during the pandemic through the American Rescue Plan. Biden’s statement demonstrates his dedication to the Latinx/Hispanic community as well as his recognition of the large contributions their community makes to American society.
There are ways in which you can make a positive impact for Latinx/Hispanic owned businesses not just this month, but all year long. This includes sustainable fashion brands such as Selva Negra, plant based skincare products from Tata Harper skincare, handmade jewelry by Aleishla Lopez and many more. Also, looking within the Carlisle community or your hometown for small Latinx owned businesses to support is another great way to make an impact.
On October 12, Día de la Raza will be celebrated by Latinx communities. Rather than Columbus Day, El Día de la Raza is a day to honor the cultures, languages, and people lost during colonization. Other Latinx countries may have a slightly different name for this day, but the overall message is to recount history correctly and to bring awareness to the fact that Latinx and indigenous people still face obstacles presently and in the future. El Día de la Raza is yet another way in which the Latinx community and the larger community can celebrate Latinx culture and rightfully acknowledge its history.
Written by Ellen McInnes ’22, WGRC student worker
September 27, 2021