Updated: Oct 19, 2022
Happy Hispanic and Latino Heritage Month! This blog will celebrate the history of the month as well as some general information about this community!
History of Hispanic and Latino Heritage Month:
This commemoration goes all the way back to 1968 when President Lyndon B. Johnson created Hispanic Heritage week starting on September 15th. It was expanded to include a whole month under President Ronald Reagan in 1988. It has been celebrated in the United States since as a time to explore, empower, celebrate, and commemorate the Hispanic and Latino peoples of the United States!
Now, the obvious question is, “Why did these Presidents decide to start on the 15th of the month, and not on the 1st?” Well, it wasn’t done just to be fun and different. The 15th of September is the independence day for the countries of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days within the same week, with Mexico celebrating their independence on September 16th, and Chile on September 18th. The month continues through the celebration of “Dia De Las Razas” (Day of the Races), on October 12th. So, starting the month on 15th and ending on October 15th, includes the Independence Day celebrations for many Latin American countries, as well as including a Latin American holiday that celebrates the different people, communities, and cultures that make up the diverse and intricate fabric of Latin America.
Hispanic vs. Latino/a vs. Latinx
When creating content, posts, emails, newsletters, or even just addressing and empowering coworkers, it is important to use the right language. Below is a quick learn on the terms that you will be seeing throughout the month: Hispanic, Latino/a, and Latinx.
Hispanic: This is a term that refers to people with heritage or ethnicity from a Spanish-speaking country.
Latino/Latina: While used interchangeably with Hispanic, there is a difference between the two. While Hispanic refers to people with heritage from Spanish speaking countries, Latino (for males) or Latina (for females), refer to someone with heritage from a Latin American country. For example, someone with Mexican heritage is both Hispanic and Latino. But someone with heritage from Brazil (where the language spoken is Portuguese) is not considered Hispanic but is considered Latino. The best way to know if someone is Hispanic or Latino is to ask them which they prefer!
Latinx: Since the words “Latino” and “Latina” require the individual to identify themselves with a gender, there is a movement for incorporating the word “Latinx” into our vocabulary so that one may be referred to as someone a member of the community, but also acknowledging those individuals that may be in a cross-roads of both race and gender. It allows someone to be celebrated for both their ethnicity while creating a safe place for various gender identities!