Hispanic Heritage Month: 8 Ways to Get Involved with the Hispanic and Latinx Community in Boston
This year marks the 30th annual celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, but what is it exactly and how can you get involved? This list can get you ready to share Hispanic Heritage Month with others.
What is Hispanic Heritage Month?
Hispanic Heritage Month originally started as a week-long celebration in 1968. Twenty years later, President Ronald Reagan extended it to last an entire month. September 15 marks the beginning of this month-long commemoration that aims to recognize and celebrate the contributions that Hispanic and Latinxs have made in the United States.
Why was this date chosen?
September 15 was chosen as the kickoff date for Hispanic Heritage Month because it marks the anniversary of the independence of five Latin American countries: El Salvador, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Honduras.
What is the difference between Hispanic, Latinx, and Spanish?
It is important to keep in mind that, while some individuals may identify as belonging to more than one group, these denominations are not interchangeable and do not always intersect.
Hispanic: originating from Spanish-speaking countries.
Latinx: refers to individuals from Latin American countries.
Spanish: refers to individuals born in Spain (Spanish nationality).
An individual may identify as both Latinx and Hispanic (such as someone from Venezuela, for example). However, an individual can be Latinx but not Hispanic (as is the case with Brazilians). The best way to approach the subject is to ask individuals about which group(s) they identify with.
What is the significance of Hispanic Heritage Month today?
Acknowledging the contributions made by the Hispanic and Latinx community in the United States is very important. Particularly now when openly anti-immigrant sentiments are so prevalent in politics and popular media. Hispanic Heritage Month should not be reduced to a hashtag, positive PR or a pandering effort. It should be seized as an opportunity to examine the challenges facing Hispanic and Latinxs as well as building bridges between communities.
Hispanic and Latino communities have helped drive socio-economic growth in Boston, a city where 35% of immigrants come from Latin America. However, Massachusetts was named the worst state for Latinxs by The Bay State Banner after recent data from 24/7 Wall Street claimed that Massachusetts is the worst state in the nation when it comes to economic and social disparities between white and Hispanic residents. In this article Executive Director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice Ivan Espinoza-Madrigal points out how limited resources create an opportunity gap for Latinxs that contributes to these disparities. Discriminatory lending practices and rising rents, as well as networking opportunities and hiring practices, mean that “Latinos are often under-resourced and under-networked.”
How can I support Hispanic and Latinxs during Hispanic Heritage Month?
One way to show support to the Hispanic and Latinx community is by promoting organizations and businesses run by Hispanics or Latinxs. Interacting with the Hispanic and Latinx community can help increase mutual understanding and appreciation. Additionally, endorsing these types of ventures and events ensures that the Hispanic and Latinx communities will continue to grow in Massachusetts.
Here is a list of places where you can support Hispanic and Latinx in Boston:
September 27 to September 30
“The Boston Latino International Film Festival has been committed to using the power of film to break stereotypes, bring cultures and communities together and reveal the complex issues that affect the Latinx community in the United States and other Spanish-speaking countries.”
2. Yo Soy Lola
Yo Soy LOLA (Latinas Orgullosas de Las Artes) is a movement to reclaim the Latina narrative through artistic platforms, including a yearly thought-provoking multimedia experience showcasing Latinas in the arts via spoken word, acting, dance, music, film, and more. Their October 5 Gala will feature a night of Latin music, dance, and a full hour production.
September 19 and September 26
The Latinx Queer Film Series is a film series that highlights the diverse lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) Latinx people. This event is presented by IBA (Inquilinos Boricuas en Acción) and The Theater Offensive.
4. By the People: Revolutionizing the Democratic Process to Ensure Full Participation by Millennials and People of Color
YW Boston will be co-sponsoring this event presented by Amplify Latinx in collaboration with the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce and City Awake. Join us for a trendsetting dialogue on inclusive voting models and learn about innovative strategies to overcome barriers to civic engagement. Walk away with a toolkit that will equip you to educate voters on a system that drives voter participation.
A Latin Kitchen is inspired by “taguaritas”– rustic, inviting, family-run eateries found along Venezuelan roadsides. Three neighborhood kitchens are each a labor of love – opened and cared for by friends (all native Venezuelans) who are passionate about bringing authentic Latin American flavors and the warmth of traditional Latin culture to local diners. Each Orinoco offers an affordable, neighborhood-focused dining tradition in Brookline, Harvard Square, and the South End.
This event is part of Hyde Square Task Force’s Latinx Heritage Month event series. Learn about traditional Afro-Latin art from countries all over the world at this family-friendly event. Then get creative and make your own art including Dominican vejigante masks, Peruvian bracelets, Mexican tin art, and more!
This event is part of Hyde Square Task Force’s Latinx Heritage Month event series. This event aims to gather all generations of people through engagement with interactive artwork and storytelling about Afro-Latin cultures. Come make something creative to add your voice to the artwork, enjoy free mangos, and join the discussion with Haitian and Dominican artists Chanel Thervil and Iris Lapaix.
Latinx Life is a booklist assembled by the Boston Public Library which includes recent books concerning the Latinx experience. This list is published as part of the Boston Public Library’s observance of Hispanic Heritage Month each year.
YW Boston is not affiliated with any of the events or places described above, except for By The People: Revolutionizing the Democratic Process to Ensure Full Participation by Millennials and People of Color for which YW Boston is a sponsor.