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Latinx & Hispanic Heritage Month

Latinx & Hispanic Heritage Month

Latinx & Hispanic Heritage Month is September 15 – October 15th

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Introduction

National Latinx/Hispanic Heritage Month is every Sept 15th – Oct 15th. Individuals celebrate the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.

We choose to use the term Latinx as it’s considered a gender neutral or nonbinary term inclusive of all genders and is inclusive of all groups from Latin America.

Other terms

  • Hispanic refers to a person who is from, or a descendant of someone who is from, a Spanish-speaking country1. It is the original term to refer to the largest and one of the most diverse growing minorities in the U.S. The word is often associated with the origins of Spanish colonialism in America and can exclude indigenous, Brazilian, and other non-Spanish-speaking groups 2.
  • Latinx/a or Latinx refers to a person who is from, or a descendant of someone who is from, a country in Latin America1.
    • Latino” is more inclusive in terms of geography as it doesn’t relate to language and embraces the whole region. However, the androcentric nature of this Spanish-language term, i.e., the use of masculine form as universal, excludes an entire group of identities2.
    • Latinx” a newer term that has recently gained popularity among scholars, activists and millennials that is inclusive of gender-expansive and gender non-conforming individuals. Additionally, “Latinx” challenges the binary nature of the Spanish-language term Latinx(a). The powerful “X” is an open door to a variety of identities, and it is also in the term “Chicanx(o/a)” to highlight the broad indigenous heritage of many groups2.

History of Latinx and Hispanic Heritage Month

This month-long observation started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson. However it was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period. This period begins September 15th and ends on October 15th. It was enacted into law on August 17th, 1988, on the approval of Public Law 100-402.

The day of September 15th is significant because it’s the anniversary of independence for some Latin American countries. These countries include Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16th and September 18th, respectively. Also, Columbus Day or Día de la Raza, which is October 12th, falls within this 30-day period3.

Throughout the month we will focus on a 1) Historical Figures 2) Historical Events 3) Faith & Religion and 4) Celebration of Culture. We will continue to highlight information throughout this month. However, we encourage you to dig deeper into the below resources to learn more about each topic.

Sources:

1a – University of Pittsburgh – Latinx and Hispanic Heritage Month

1 – National Park Service

2 – Human Rights Campaign

3 – National Hispanic Heritage Month.gov

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