THE TIME IS NOW: HISPANIC HERITAGE MONTH
The year started off with a gigantic step for Hispanics and its representation in the U.S. Shakira and JLo’s halftime show at the Superbowl was a milestone for our community that was supposed to set up the stage for what would be an amazing year for Hispanics. However, the COVID-19 pandemic surely changed our plans and impacted our community in a disproportionate manner.
Hispanic Heritage Month begins on September 15th, a month aimed at celebrating our cultural heritage and our contributions in the U.S. However, this year’s celebration takes on a new meaning as our community is on the path for recovery from the effects of the pandemic.
It is huge that we have now a Hispanic Heritage Month as a way to celebrate Hispanic’s diverse cultures and extensive history in the U.S., it started as a week-long celebration in 1968 under President Lyndon B. Johnson, getting extended to a month-long celebration in 1988 under President Ronald Reagan. This month of celebration coincides with the Indepence days of several Latin American countries including: Chile, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico and Nicaragua. Our history in the U.S. goes back to colonial times when Spanish conquistadores first settled in parts of the United States -even before the English colonies were founded- which led to the existence of a Spanish speaking mestizo population in different regions of the country. We have been here since before there was a United States and afterwards, immigrants from all over Latin America have kept on coming to this country in hopes of finding a better future or reuniting with the relatives who immigrated first. Our stories, independently of our nationalities, share the same struggle and resilience.
Nowadays, Hispanics represent 62 million or 18.7% of the U.S. total population and we have a spending power of $1.7 trillion. We are here to stay and we feel equally American as we feel Hispanic. We have stayed close to our roots and culture, 92% of Hispanic millennials say it feels normal to preserve the culture and traditions of their country of origin while living in the U.S, and it is this what makes us stronger. As Hispanics, we share similar traditions, flavors, rhythms and experiences and we should take advantage of that and unite our efforts to make our voices louder and stronger in the U.S.
With the COVID-19 pandemic our community has been affected in countless ways and we should be more united now. The pandemic hit us hard economically and health wise. We have been disproportionately affected by this virus and we are on the frontlines fighting it too. Our small businesses, jobs and heath were hardly hit and our recovery should start with us, by joining our efforts as a community and taking action.
This is the time of the year in which people will give us the chance to hear our stories, data and learn about Hispanics, and it will be the time to raise our voice, stand up and maximize the opportunity that this Hispanic Heritage Month gives us.
Hispanics need to feel proud of who they are in order to continue our path in this country with unity. We want to generate collective action and support towards the Hispanic community and that is why we want you well equipped for it. Please take a look at our toolkit and actively participate in our events of the month starting september 15th.
Now more than ever, with everything that has been going on in the world this year, we need to take action and speak up. If we don’t speak with Hispanics no one will, help us to change the ongoing narrative and bring the Hispanic community from invisible to visible by sending a strong and unified message together.
America is made of stars and Hispanics are one of them!