Today ends National Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs from September 15 to October 15 each year and honors the unique cultures and contributions of Hispanic Americans to the US. The observation was introduced in 1968, on the cusp of the Civil Rights movement, and was expanded in 1988 to cover an entire month.
Latinx and Hispanic people have made significant contributions to our country, but still continue to be underrepresented, unheard, and unequal in the eyes of many. In honor of this month, we encourage you to take some time today (and every day) to expand your knowledge and support Hispanic and Latinx people in our community.
Here are some ways:
- Educate yourself about the impact Hispanic & Latinx communities make in our community. According to UnidosUS, the nation’s largest Latino civil rights and advocacy organization, more than 62 million Latinos live and work in the United States, contributing $2.13 trillion to the economy. By 2050, 1 in 3 of U.S. workers will be Latino and, in the next 20 years, 70% of new homeowners will be Hispanic. Explore more statistics on the UnidosUS website.
- Center Hispanic & Latinx voices in your everyday life, particularly underrepresented ones. From the books you read to the history you learn, add more diversity and representation to your world. Love to read? Here is a list by the Luz Collective of 7 books by Latina authors to add to your reading list. For a history lesson, read about 8 Afro Latinos Who Made Important Contributions to US History.
- Support organizations that work with Hispanic and Latinx communities. Some local suggestions include:
- Latin American Youth Center (LAYC) serves over 4,000 youth and families through youth centers, school-based sites, and public charter schools in the District of Columbia and Maryland’s Prince George’s and Montgomery Counties as the Maryland Multicultural Youth Centers (MMYC).
- Latino Economic Development Center (LEDC) helps to equip the Latinx community and other underserved communities through programs that teach participants how to build their long-term financial security.
- Many Languages One Voice aims to foster leadership and provide tools for greater civic participation of immigrants in DC who do not speak English as their primary language in solutions that impact their lives. They mobilize the community to prompt systemic change to meet the goal of language justice in the District.
- The Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights Coalition strives to ensure equal justice for all immigrant adults and children at risk of detention and deportation in the Capital region area and beyond through direct legal representation, know your rights presentations, impact litigation, advocacy, and the enlistment and training of attorneys to defend immigrants.