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Latinx & Hispanic Heritage Month

A curated multimedia guide to celebrate Latinx & Hispanic Heritage Month.

What is Latinx & Hispanic Heritage Month?

Latinx & Hispanic Heritage Month has a complicated role to play in present-day U.S. society. Research shows that the Latinx population is the largest minority group in the U.S., and the second fastest growing. This month (and every month) we take the time to honor and recognize the Latinx community: a wide-spanning, endlessly nuanced population that has reimagined and reshaped arts, activism, language, and all facets of American culture in the face of consistent discrimination, xenophobia, and political violence. 

A boy playing guitar, flyer advertising Brazilian celebration, illustration of Quechua girl.

Hispanic Heritage Month (which now also goes by Latinx Heritage Month) began as "Hispanic Heritage Week" when 20 congressmen introduced it as a joint resolution in 1968.

The initial resolution states the purpose "to recognize, cherish, and conserve the many cultural contributions of the people who have helped achieve the greatness of our Nation." President Johnson issued a proclamation formalizing the celebration week, which later became a month-long honor thanks to efforts by California Congressman Esteban Torres in 1988.

Latinx & Hispanic Heritage Month now takes place from September 15th - October 15th. These dates were chosen strategically to honor the independence anniversaries of multiple countries in Central and South America, marking the end of formal Spanish colonization. The countries whose independence days fall within Hispanic Heritage Month are as follows:

  • September 15th: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua
  • September 16th: Mexico
  • September 18th: Chile

Indigenous Rights

The millions of indigenous peoples in Latin America have faced centuries of environmental trauma, violent colonization, and exclusionary laws. The United Nations has conducted a wide breadth of research about discrimination against indigenous populations, and found that in Latin America, they are deprived the following basic human rights:

  • recognition by States of the physical and cultural existence of indigenous peoples;
  • the right to the real and effective ownership of traditional lands and territories and to the resources (both material and spiritual) that they contain;
  • the right of indigenous peoples to have their own understanding of their history;
  • the right to participate in and propose policies and projects for development, health, education and other areas;
  • the right to have effective mechanisms to protest against or oppose legislation, administrative measures, projects, policies and programs that have a negative impact on the life, economy or environment of their communities;
  • the real and effective recognition of indigenous legal systems and religions, and the contributions that indigenous cultures have made to the progress of humanity, especially in relation to the environment, agriculture, philosophy, mathematics and other fields

As we celebrate Latinx and Hispanic Heritage Month, we must actively acknowledge these harms and put a name and face to the hundreds of indigenous groups throughout the continent. 

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