September 15 marked the beginning of National Hispanic Heritage Month, a month dedicated to celebrating American citizens from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. This date was chosen specifically because it was the date of independence for 5 Latin American countries: Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador and Costa Rica. During this month, communities come together to celebrate the impact that the Latinx community has left on America’s history and culture, and non-Latinx Americans come together to understand and experience Hispanic culture, traditions and heritage. Although many people do not know how to celebrate this month, here are some ways that Hispanics and non-Hispanics can celebrate this month.
Make a donation to Hispanic/LatinX focused causes.
There are many Hispanic causes and activist movements to donate to available with just a click of a button. One of these causes is the Hispanic Heritage Foundation. It is a non-profit organization that mentors, inspires and prepares excelling Hispanic leaders in the classroom, workforce or community. Another cause that one can donate to is the NALEO Educational Fund. This non-profit organization works to educate the Latinx community on American politics and increasing the involvement of them in American policymaking. It works to give them a voice in policies that affect them from voting rights to immigration. These foundations can be found and donated to at hispanicheritage.org and naleo.org.
Put up an exhibition
One creative way to help educate others on Hispanic nations is to put up an exhibition of these countries. These exhibitions can be anything to a poster with the nation’s flag and pictures of notable items and places to decorating a whole table with cultural clothing and information about the country. This helps non-Hispanics understand the culture, see the differences between other Hispanic countries and appreciate traditions as well as ethnic clothing. It can also contain native folktales and native inspirational leaders of the country.
Learn about historical figures in the Latinx community
Historical figures, such as Cesar Chavez and Sonia Sotomayor, are only a few brilliant minds and influencers from the Latinx community. These people leave or have left an eternal impact on the world. Chavez was a Latino-American civil rights leader who founded the National Farm Workers Association, which is now known as the United Farm Workers union. He fought against the racial discrimination against his community and also for the unjust treatment, pay and work conditions for farm workers. Sotomayor is the current Associate Justice of the Supreme Court and was appointed by Barack Obama in 2009. She is the first Hispanic and Latina Supreme Court justice.
Create decorations to get ready for Dia de los Muertos
Dia de los Muertos is more commonly known in America as the Day of the Dead and takes place right after Hispanic Heritage Month on Oct. 31 through Nov. 2 and has origins dating back to the Aztec Empire. This pre-Hispanic culture found it disrespectful to their loved ones to mourn their deaths, thus creating a huge holiday of the celebration of life. Since it is often celebrated with skeleton decorations and makeup, parades, parties and costumes, it is a common misconception that it is a type of Hispanic Halloween. However, this is not the case. Instead, this holiday is used to help children understand the circle of life, not fear death and to honor those loved ones who have passed by creating altars dedicated to their passed loved ones.