What is Latina/o/x Heritage Month?
Officially titled “Hispanic Heritage Month,” this 30 day sequence began as a week long celebration in 1968 called “Hispanic Heritage Week.” It was expanded in 1988 to begin on September 15th and run until October 15th. Several Latin American nations celebrate their independence days during this 30 day span, as well as critical moments in the histories of their nations as they fought for independence.
Latinos in the United States have rich and vibrant cultural traditions: from how we wear our clothes—even the kinds of clothes we wear—to the music we listen to, the food we eat, the books we read, the movies we watch, the cars we drive, and the art we create. We come from cultures that are African, Amerindian, Iberian, and many more that fuse and find tension in what is called Latin America and is then transformed in the United States. Our families have heritage from over 20 different nations, and all of these countries have their own unique and complex histories. This month is our chance to celebrate and share our cultures with the communities around us and even among ourselves.
Check out this new resource from Google, which brings together artwork, videos, and tons of information about Latinx Culture in the U.S.
What does Latina/o/x/e mean?
The term "Latino" means that our families have roots in Latin American nations, which include not only Spanish-speaking communities but also Portuguese-speaking (in the case of Brazil) as well. In Spanish, the "o" at the end of "Latino" can mean "male" or include men and women as a group. "Latina" would mean only women. Civil rights movements in the United States have opened avenues for us to question our gender identity, demand recognition for all members of the community, and also create space in which we can refute normative gender identities--such as by using "Latinx." And more recently, the term "Latine" has entered the lexicon.
For further explanation, read Terry Blas' mini comic “Latinx” is Growing in Popularity. I Made a Comic to Help You Understand Why" and check out the following video.
Arts, Cultural, and Civic Organizations:
Since 1968, UnidosUS has served the Hispanic community through our research, policy analysis, and state and national advocacy efforts, as well as in our program work in communities nationwide and through our network of over 300 affiliates across the country. https://www.unidosus.org/
The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) is the largest and oldest Hispanic organization in the United States. LULAC advances the economic condition, educational attainment, political influence, housing, health and civil rights of Hispanic Americans through community-based programs operating at more than 1,000 LULAC councils nationwide. The organization involves and serves all Hispanic nationality groups. https://lulac.org
Since 1989, the National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures (NALAC) has delivered programs that stabilize and revitalize the US Latino arts and cultural sector via funding, leadership training, convenings, research, and advocacy. https://www.nalac.org