More than 50 years ago, President Lyndon B. Johnson proclaimed a week-long celebration of the histories, cultures, and contributions of Hispanic Americans. This week was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period. Now, Hispanic Heritage Month lasts from September 15- October 15. The theme for the 2022 celebration is “Unidos: Inclusivity for a Stronger Nation.”
This annual celebration has become one of the few opportunities for the Hispanic-Latinx/e/@ community to be recognized, in some way, for our contributions to American society. We must also note the contributions most often recognized by the mainstream media are music, books, art and food. So, I asked myself, what about other stories of survivorship, resiliency, workforce leadership, and more? Why are these stories not being shared and celebrated?
If Hispanic Heritage month is the one opportunity a year we have to celebrate our ancestors, our communities, and our diversity; let us honor and hear your stories. We want to know what being Latinx/e/@ means to you.
What being Latinx Means to Me
For me, being Latinx means stopping and learning from our ancestors’ steps and journeys in this country. It means transforming spaces that weren’t created for us. It means witnessing my parents’ sacrifices made in pursuit of a better life. It means being part of the next generation who have shaped this country and made it their own. It means a willingness to fight for our future, fueled by our ancestors and stories that help us embrace our roots. It means learning to cook and adapt our food (from our moms, abuelas,and tias), our traditions, and teaching our kids to ensure those who come after us get to enjoy the recipes and traditions as we did and and never forget where they come from!
Professionally, it means working 2-3 times harder & giving 200% of yourself; it means code-switching, it means fighting imposter syndrome, it means working hard to be the ideal immigrant everywhere you go so you can feel accepted and most importantly, understood. It means being in community, speaking Spanglish, and working to ensure those who come after us don’t have our barriers and limitations. We want them to feel they belong!
Now that I have shared some of what being Latinx/e/@ means to me, this Hispanic Heritage Month, I invite you to share with all of us what it means to you by leaving a comment on this blog or tagging us on social media.