This month (Sept 15th – Oct 15th) marks the celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month (HHM), which commemorates how Latinx and Hispanic communities have influenced and contributed to American society at large.
HHM began as a commemorative week in June 1968 by California Congressman George E. Brown and became a nationally recognized week by President Lyndon B. Johnson on September 17, 1968. President Ronald Reagan signed the expansion of Hispanic Heritage Week into a month-long celebration on August 17, 1988. The timing of the beginning of HHM is intentional as it coincides with five Central American countries – Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua, declaring their independence from Spain on September 15, 1821.
Latinx and Hispanic communities describe a widely diverse group of people, regardless of race, and are typically considered to be of Spanish origin. However, the terms shouldn’t be interchangeable. Hispanic refers to those from Spain and other Spanish-speaking countries, which excludes Brazil. Latino (or Latinx, a gender-neutral term) refers to those from Latin America (North, Central, and South America), which includes Brazil but not Spain. Chicano is a term used to specifically identify people of Mexican origin. According to a study, most respondents preferred to self-identify based on Hispanic origin (i.e. Mexican, Cuban, Salvadoran) or simply as American.
Please join us on October 7th at 12pm on Minor Beach in celebrating HHM with Dr. Elisa Huerta (they/them/elle), the interim Vice Chancellor for the Centers for Educational Justice & Community Engagement. Dr. Huerta received their PhD in Cultural Anthropology at UC Santa Cruz with emphasis in Latin American & Latino Studies and Feminist Studies. Their scholarship focuses on expressive culture, women of color, feminist praxis, hemispheric indigeneity, racial pedagogy, and community-based research. After their talk, we will have a taste of Latin American food from local vendors.