National Latinx/Hispanic Heritage Month spans from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15. The Little Market is committed to using our platform to advocate for the accurate representation and inclusion of all communities within American society.
During National Latinx/Hispanic Heritage Month, we celebrate the multicultural and multiethnic histories of Latinx and Hispanic-identifying communities and their countless contributions to the United States. During this month, we celebrate American citizens with ancestry in Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean, and Spain.1 According to the United Nations, there are 33 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean and 15 dependent territories in the region.2 When reflecting on the Latinx/Hispanic diaspora in the United States, we must recognize that there isn’t a single racial/ethnic/ethno-racial, cultural, political, socioeconomic, or historical identity within these communities.
This commemoration was first introduced as a week-long observance in June of 1968 by California Congressman George E. Brown. During the Civil Rights Movement, a growing awareness of multicultural identities in the United States was increasing, as well as the need to recognize the contributions of the Latinx/Hispanic communities. On Sept. 17, 1986, President Lyndon B. Johnson issued a presidential proclamation, making Hispanic Heritage Week a national observance. In 1987, U.S. Representative Esteban E. Torres of California proposed expanding the observance to a month. President Ronald Reagan signed the resolution into law on August 17, 1988. President George H.W. Bush became the first president to declare the 31-day period on September 14, 1989.3
The term “Hispanic” emerged from the U.S. Census Bureau advisory board created by President Richard Nixon.4 This is a reference to a person who is from, or a descendant of someone who is from, a Spanish-speaking country. This federal definition has become a standard way to define a very diverse, multilingual group of people. Activists and scholars deem it an imposed and misguided blanket term when considering the complex identities within Latinx communities. Some individuals prefer to identify as “Latina/o” as it refers to a person who is from, or a descendant of someone who is from, a Latin American country. The Spanish language is gendered; the male term is the default term to address a group of people. “Latinx” is an expansion on the term “Latino” to be a gender-inclusive descriptor of identity.5
We rounded up a list of activists, authors, and leaders to help increase the collective awareness about the rich diversity of identity, experience, and perspective within Latinx/Hispanic-identifying communities.
- The Latino List (2011) – a documentary featuring prominent Latinx figures who discuss how they have navigated their identity in the United States
- Latino Americans (2013) – a PBS docuseries featuring interviews with nearly 100 Latinx figures, while highlighting the community’s history in the United States
- Latino Vote: Dispatches from the Battleground (2020) – a PBS docuseries following grassroots efforts to mobilize Latinx voters in the upcoming election
- Latina to Latina – a podcast hosted by Alicia Menendez, a journalist and multimedia storyteller, interviewing remarkable Latinas
- Las Doctoras – a podcast co-hosted by Dr. Renee Lemus and Dr. Cristina Rose that explores important conversations about the oppressive social dynamics that impact our world
- Latino USA – a Peabody Award-winning NPR podcast hosted and executive produced by Maria Hinojosa, which takes a deep dive into the current and emerging cultural, political, and social ideas that impact the Latinx community
- Café con Pam – hosted by Pam Covarrubias, featuring weekly interviews with fearless Latinx and people of color who break barriers, change lives, and make the world a better place
- Tres Cuentos – a bilingual podcast hosted by Carolina Quiroga-Stultz and dedicated to the traditional narratives of Latin America, including Indigenous and Afro-Latinx stories
- “Afterlife” by Julia Alvarez – a novel about a recently widowed literature professor who meets an undocumented girl. The story explores themes of human connection, grief, and the responsibility we have to one another.
- “The Book of Rosy” by Rosayra Pablo Cruz and Julie Schwietert Collazo – Chronicles Rosayra Pablo Cruz’s experience of being separated from her child at the U.S.-Mexico border under the U.S. family separation policy, officially implemented in 2018
- “Sabrina & Corina: Stories” by Kali Fajardo-Anstine – a collection of 11 short stories centering on the different lived experiences of Latina women of Indigenous ancestry living in Denver, Colorado
- “The House on Mango Street” by Sandra Cisneros – a novel structured as a series of vignettes, telling the story of Esperanza Cordero, a 12-year-old Mexican-American girl growing up in Chicago
- @theunapologeticstreetseries – created by Johanna Toruño, a community-taught visual artist utilizing the streets as a public platform and gallery
- @frias_daphne – Daphne Frias, an activist living with Cerebral Palsy and engaging those with disabilities in social movements
- @carustol – Carolina Rubio MacWright, artist, immigration attorney, speaker, and activist
- @chasingdenisse – Denisse Myrick, an award-winning, internationally published photographer
- @todoverde – plant-based Mexican cooking by chef Joselyn Ramirez
Thank you for joining in our mission to raise awareness around human rights, equity, equality, and advocacy for the accurate representation of diverse communities.
1 “National Hispanic Heritage Month, About.” National Hispanic Heritage Month. Accessed Oct. 10, 2020. Web.
2 “UN Geoscheme, Geographic Regions.” United Nations Statistics Divison. UNSD. Accessed Oct. 10, 2020. Web.
3 History.com Editors. “Hispanic Heritage Month.” Original Sept. 11, 2020. Updated Sept. 16, 2020. Accessed Oct. 10, 2020. Web.
4 Noe-Bustamante, Luis, Mora, Lauren, and Lopez, Mark Hugo. “About One-in-Four U.S. Hispanics Have Heard of Latinx, but Just 3% Use It.” Pew Research Center. Aug. 11, 2020. Accessed Oct. 10, 2020. Web.
5 Steinmetz, Katy. “Why ‘Latinx’ Is Succeeding While Other Gender-Neutral Terms Fail to Catch On.” TIME. April 2, 2018. Accessed Oct. 10, 2020. Web.