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Hispanic Heritage Month: A Time to Celebrate & Reflect
Hispanic Heritage Month: A Time to Celebrate & Reflect
Hispanic Heritage Month: A Time to Celebrate & Reflect

Talks

Celebrating cultures

Hispanic Heritage Month: A Time to Celebrate & Reflect

read 3 min

Annually, from September 15 to October 15th, the United States celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month.

This is an important time to recognize the achievements and contributions of Hispanic American champions who have inspired others with their journeys. However, it’s also a time everyone should take to think about respect, recognition, and cultural diversity.

Let’s dig into the importance of Hispanic Heritage Month. Furthermore, let’s discuss how it has helped to raise awareness towards their contributions to the US as well as important discussions.  

What’s Hispanic Heritage Month

Everyone that has already watched America Ferrera’s speech on TED knows how important it is to celebrate different identities and cultures. As we always discuss at Fashinnovation’s event being represented and respected is all that Hispanic Heritage Month is about. 

Therefore, every year, from September 15th to October 15th, the US celebrates our plural and diverse culture. It is a time to honor the history, cultures, and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. 

The History Behind the Celebration

The US started celebrating this date in 1968. In that year, President Lyndon Johnson started Hispanic Heritage Week. After that, in 1988, President Ronald Reagan expanded it to cover a 30-day period – as it is today.

The celebrations start on September 15th which is a significant day. That’s because it is the anniversary of independence for some Latin American countries such as Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Furthermore, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September 18, respectively. Also, Columbus Day – which is a controversial date – or Día de la Raza, which is October 12, falls within this period.

At the end of the day, Hispanic Heritage month was born as a kind of historic repair. And, now, turned out as a day for us Latinxs to be proud of who we are. After all, like America Ferrera proudly says, “my identity is a superpower”.

Of course, there is still a long way to go regarding respect towards our culture. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for people with the same background as me to be marginalized and belittled. However, dates like this serve to remind us – and everyone else – of our values and the richness of our culture. It serves as extra gas for us to go out there again, renewed and fortified, in the certainty of our potential and the grandeur of our roots.

Hispanic: The Discussion Around the Use of the Term

People in the US started to use the term “Hispanic” in the 1970s. Back then, the Census Bureau, a government agency, used it to group together Mexican-Americans, Puerto Ricans, and other communities tracing their ancestry to Spanish-speaking countries.

“It was a bureaucratic term”, professor Louis DeSipio, a Latino politics expert at the University of California-Irvine, tells the BBC.

However, some disagree with the use of this term. According to them, “Hispanic” is not the appropriate word to describe the group that corresponds to almost 17% of the US population that has Latin American origin. After all, this word doesn’t embrace Brazilian-Americans, because we were a Portuguese colony – and not Spanish. 

A possible option would be using the term “Latinx”. But, some people don’t agree with this one either – as shown in research by the Pew Hispanic Center, in 2012. According to the study, people don’t feel represented with either of these terms because they don’t embrace the whole diversity of the group. In fact, as the investigation states, around 51% say they most often identify themselves by their family’s country of origin – just 24% say they prefer a “pan-ethnic label” such as Hispanic or Latino.

As we can see, we still have a lot to discuss when it comes to the term of it. We need to make sure that the whole group feels represented and embraces this date as a positive celebration. 

Fashion Embracing Hispanic Culture

Hispanic and Latinx roots are all over fashion trends. Many designers, worldwide, make sure to show that in their work. 

And while Latinxs are still not part of big lists of best designers and fashion professionals of renowned vehicles – like BoF – that doesn’t mean they aren’t out there spreading the magic of culture. From the Uruguayan Gabriela Hearst to the artisans in the Amazon Rainforest, these artists are making sure to keep up with the culture and show it to the world.  

Actually, that discussion was part of one of the panels on Worldwide Talks, in June 2020. Laerke Skyum, Farai Simoyi, Marcia Kemp, and Yolanda Pérez got together to talk about “Culture via Design”. Karla Martínez de Salas, Editor In Chief at Vogue Mexico & Latin America moderated the conversation. Check that out, get inspired and, most of all, get proud!

Don’t forget to check our previous article about how fashion reflects social changes!

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Credits:

Júlia Vilaça

HEAD OF CONTENT & JOURNALIST

Related topics

Author:

Júlia Vilaça

HEAD OF CONTENT & JOURNALIST

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