Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month

Interestingly, National Hispanic Heritage Month spans from September 15 through October 15, rather than the last day of September. And the story behind this is one that everyone should learn about in regards to Hispanic legacy. Anyone curious about their town’s Hispanic legacies should learn why we choose to memorialize decades of Latinos across two months.

From September 15 to October 15, Hispanic Heritage Month commemorates Latino activism to gain recognition for their culture, history, and rights.

September 15 was chosen as the start date for the 30-day celebration as it marks the anniversary of the “Grito de Dolores,” an event that signaled the beginning of the Mexican War of Independence. On September 15, September 16, and September 18, respectively, Mexico celebrates its independence from Spain, as do the majority of Central American nations.

Hispanic Heritage Month is a time to celebrate the independence of Central and South American countries from Spain, as well as to highlight the many cultures and long histories of the American Latino community.

Spanish influences may be seen throughout Santa Barbara, from the architecture to the street names.

If you go to the Old Mission in Santa Barbara and the Santa Barbara Courthouse, both have architecture that Madrid strongly influenced. Everyone should see it to learn more about the history of their city; it is a stunning sight.

This is a great time to learn more about the diversity of Hispanic and Latinx experiences and cultures. There are several media references in Hispanic cultures, yet no single definition can adequately portray the spirit and traditions of so many people descended from a vast geography. It’s why it is so important to hear and see an array of voices and stories in the media.

The media has evolved, making it increasingly clear that our screens fall short when it comes to representation, and in recent years, POC creators have emerged in the media to share their voices to feel seen and understood amongst the other prescribed roles portrayed in the media.

Ángel Manuel Soto’s Blue Beetle focuses on the Latino community, telling the story of a young Hispanic hero, Jamie Reyes, who must protect his family from people who want to destroy them. Jamie Reyes’ story takes place in a recognizable Mexican-American setting. Jamie’s family is loud, nosy, and affectionate in ways that echo my own family.

If movies aren’t your thing, read Aristotle and Dante’s Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz. It is a stunning coming-of-age story about two drastically different Mexican-American kids who create an unfathomable bond.

Or Crystal Maldonado’s Fat Chance, Charlie Vega has issues with her weight and body image, due to pressure from her mother. However, in this charming and inspirational young adult novel, she learns to appreciate her body and herself just as she is.

There is so much history to learn of not only our city but of the world. Learn about the Hispanic influences in this country, but don’t stop there. Learn more about other cultures outside of your own. Use what the media has shown about Hispanic legacies and take the time to be informed about the different perspectives and experiences of people outside your background.

Black History Month, Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month, and Hispanic/Latino/a/e/x Heritage Month should not be celebrated in under 30 days. Instead, let this month be the start of everyone opening their eyes to the world surrounding us.

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