Hispanic Heritage Month spans from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 as a time to recognize and celebrate the achievements and contributions of Hispanic Americans to the United States, as well as to educate others about Hispanic history and culture.
However, some Hispanic Americans forget to educate themselves on the anti-Indigenous and anti-Black roots not only this month but every day.
“I think much of the problems that we face socially in Latin America and in this diaspora of Latinos and Latinx people comes from not acknowledging those issues and those historical facts,” third-year journalism student Sewa Yo’otu Olivares said.
Olivares is Chicanx, an identity used to refer to people of Mexican origin, but primarily identifies as Indigenous and of Yaqui descent. With strong connections to their Indigenous relatives and little to none toward Hispanic Heritage Month, she feels conflicted.
“It’s like the people that are the loudest this month are the ones that seem to have the least issues when it comes to their status within Latin America,” Olivares said. “And that is to say light-skinned, mixed or non-Indigenous [and] non-Black Latinos.”
Olivares explains this can create a subset of Latinos and Latinx people who feel excluded from this month compared to their light-skinned counterparts. Consequently, this is a detriment to the political goals of the Latinx community because a subset of people is left behind.
Olivares believes liberating the most opposed people, such as Black transgender women, will liberate everyone else.
“I feel like that philosophy needs to be applied when it comes to race and gender, and all of these things in Latin America and the organizations that organize around those political roles, ” Olivares said.”
In a piece titled “The X in Latinx Is A Wound, Not A Trend,” Afro-Indigenous poet and artist Alan Pelaez Lopez discusses the four wounds of the “X” in the word Latinx: settlement, anti-Blackness, femicides and inarticulation.
Pelaez writes, “the “X” in Latinx is a wound as opposed to a trend that speaks to a collective history [and] is attempting to speak to the violences of colonization, slavery, against women and femmes, and the fact that many of us experience such an intense displacement and silence that we have no language in which to articulate who we are.”
While reading Pelaez Lopez’s piece, Olivares was reminded not to deny their relationship to colonization, especially as a light-skinned Indigenous person.
As a white Latina born in the United States, I also cannot deny the privilege of my citizenship compared to friends and family members who constantly struggle because they are undocumented. Even though it is uncomfortable to recognize our connections to colonization and our privileges due to our citizenship, it is necessary to have conversations about it.
“People need to get over being ashamed of their heritage,” Olivares said. “It’s not productive to be shameful of…the ways that your [family] lineage fits into the story of Latinidad.”
Instead, light-skinned and mixed Latinos and Latinxs need to use their privilege to uplift those who don’t always have a voice, including dark-skinned Indigenous and Black people not only during Hispanic Heritage Month but every day.
For Olivares, it can start by asking oneself questions such as: Who are the loudest voices in this conversation? Who are we not letting talk? Who have we not invited?
“The answer is not us doing the work,” Olivares said. “It’s giving others the space to do the work that they’ve already been trying to make visible for so long.”
Happy Hispanic Heritage Month! Even though the month is over, there are still so many ways to celebrate the variety of Hispanic cultures in the world. Along with all the foods, festivals, movies and music that encapsulate Hispanic culture, books are another great way to celebrate Hispanic stories.
Hispanic authors have many stories and perspectives to share that give insight to the beautiful cultures and the many issues that Hispanic people still grapple with. The best part is that there are way more books based on Hispanic characters than in previous years, so what better way to celebrate the month than to read a book about it?
1. Fat Chance Charlie Vega by Crystal Maldonado
According to the GoodReads synopsis, Fat Chance Charlie Vega is the coming of age story of “a fat, brown girl in a white Connecticut suburb.” Charlie is a high school student who tries to improve her relationships with her body, mother and the loss of her father. Throughout the book, Charlie learns to love herself, her parents, her body and her Puerto Rican culture.
2. Love in English by Maria E Andreu
Love in English is a story loosely based on the author’s life wherein a 16-year-old girl named Ana moves with her mom to the United States from Argentina. Her father has been living in the States for the past two years and is helping Ana and her mom adapt to their new lifestyle, but Ana has a very hard time adjusting. She struggles to understand the English language, American culture and the kids around her.She also has to navigate the fragile balance between her Argentenian and American identities. As she makes friends at her school, Ana discovers herselfand finds community in the people that she connects with.
3. Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan
Esperanza Rising is loosely based on the life of the author’s grandmother. The story depicts the life of Esperanza, a 13-year-old girl from Aguascalientes, Mexico, who grew up on her family’s successful ranch. When her father passes away and her uncle threatens to take everything her family has, she and her mom escape to California during the Great Depression and settle in a camp for Mexican farm workers. Esperanza’s life turns upside down and she learns just what it takes to work hard, keep her family close and rise above her difficult circumstances.
4. I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sánchez
I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter is about Julia, a girl who grew up in a Mexican-American home in Chicago who grieves the loss of her older sister, Olga. Olga was the perfect Mexican-American daughter, at least more than Julia, or so Julia thought. After Olga passes in a tragic accident, Julia tries to learn more about her sister’s life and if either of them were able to live to the impossible standard of being the perfect daughter.
5. Clap When you Land by Elizabeth Acevedo
Clap When You Land, tells the story of two sisters, one in New York and the other in the Dominican Republic, who learn the other exists only after the passing of their father. Despite being separated by distance, the two girls’ lives change forever when the loss of their father leads them to one other.
6. Sanctuary by Abby Sher and Paola Mendoza
This dystopian-like novel tells the tale of Vali, a 16-year-old undocumented girl living in the United States in 2032. In this futuristic version of the U.S., citizens are chipped and tracked. Vali and her family have counterfeit chips that one day malfunction and the family is confronted by Deportation Forces, causing them to flee to a sanctuary state. Along the journey, Vali’s mother is detained and Vali is faced with carrying her brother across the country to safety.
7. Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera
Juliet is a girl from the Bronx who just came out to her parents who didn’t take the news so lightly. When Juliet lands her dream internship working for the author of her favorite book in Portland, Oregon, she takes a chance and makes the journey. Over the summer and the course of the internship, Juliet learns how to navigate her identity as a Puerto Rican lesbian.
Celebrating Hispanic stories is one of the best ways to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month! There are a plethora of stories out there celebrating our diverse cultures and rich stories. Whether you read them on the pages of a book or see them on the screen of your favorite streaming platform, they are a window into the beauty of the Hispanic experience. Even as Hispanic Heritage Month winds to a close, it’s always a great time to celebrate Hispanic stories.
Much of Hispanic and Latinx culture and achievements is based around the art of music. If it were not for Hispanic and Latinx artists, there wouldn’t be as much diversity within the music industry.
From huge talents from decades ago like Luis Miguel and Selena to hot artists on the charts like Bad Bunny and Kali Uchis to hometown heroes like Austin’s very own Tiarra Girls, these artists are all adding their own flavor to Hispanic and Latinx culture.
Which is why I have created a playlist featuring a little bit of everything that makes Hispanic and LatinX music the melting pot it is now.
Have a listen, enjoy and have a very happy Hispanic Heritage Month!
September 15 marked the first day of Hispanic Heritage month. As many students are new to the Austin area after over a year of virtual learning, many may be wondering how to celebrate this month in Austin. So, here are some places in Austin where you can celebrate Hispanic Heritage month.
What is Hispanic Heritage Month?
From September 15 to October 15, Hispanic Heritage Month is a time to celebrate Hispanic American culture and history. This month was created for Americans that identify as Hispanic. Those with roots from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America are labeled as Hispanic by the United States government. This month allows Hispanics to celebrate their origins and educate non-Hispanics about Hispanic culture and history.
Latin American Market
Who doesn’t like shopping? Latino business owners will be selling their crafts, jewelry, clothes and more at the Latin American Market. This market features a ton of authentic Latino goods such as homemade desserts and food that are hard to find anywhere else. Check out the market on Oct. 3 from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and support Latinos by going to the market to celebrate.
2021 Habla con Orgullo Awards
The VMAs and Emmys are some of the top award ceremonies that just happened this past month. At these popular ceremonies there is an obvious lack of Latino representation. However, the 2021 Habla con Orgullo Awards is another award ceremony that recognizes Austin Latino individuals and organizations. It’s and is coming up on October 13. You can join them in celebrating Latino leaders in Austin outside at Asadas Grill at 5:30 p.m.
Latinos Unidos Networking Mixer
Want to dance to cumbia? Eat Tex-Mex? Enjoy a live DJ? Ray Dovalina and Monica Maldonado along with Austin Latina Bloggers are hosting the Latinos Unidos Networking Mixer. This mixer is for people to connect with others around Austin and celebrate Hispanic Heritage month. While tickets are $20, proceeds will go to Austin non-profits like Thrift-ish and Latinitas, according to the Austin Latina Bloggers flyer. This event will take place at Tamale House on October 14, 2021 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. where the Michael Guerra Band will perform live.
Want to learn more about the history and culture of Mexico? Then visit the Mexic-Arte museum. Even though this museum is open year round, a good way to celebrate Hispanic Heritage month is to educate yourself about the different Hispanic cultures. Tickets for adults are $7, but on Sunday’s you get free admissions and tours that allow you access to the entire museum.
Still Time to Celebrate
Even though we are halfway through Hispanic Heritage Month, there is still plenty of time to celebrate. Check out some of the events around Austin to learn more about Hispanic culture and show appreciation to local Hispanics and their contributions.
Where you can watch it: Hulu (with subscription), Stars (with subscription), Amazon Prime (with subscription), YouTube (with subscription)
What it’s about: A young boy from Mexico illegally travels to the US to be reunited with his mom, who is also illegally in the US after his grandmother and caregiver passes away. This movie is incredibly heart-wrenching and interspersed with moments of comedy and joy. The characters in this story work hard to have a better life for themselves and their families. Isn’t that what the American Dream is all about?
Where you can watch it: Hulu (with subscription), Amazon Prime (with subscription), YouTube (with subscription)
What it’s about: Two children save their secret agent parents from evil. Okay, hear me out: even though it’s a children’s movie, “Spy Kids” is a hilarious movie with great representation. This movie has a Hispanic director, a mainly Hispanic cast, set in Latin America, and not to mention features the legend that is Machete (Danny Trejo).
Where you can watch it: Amazon Prime (with subscription) and YouTube (with subscription)
What it’s about: The Tejano legend that is gone but never forgotten. This biopic tells the story of Selena Quintanilla, the Texas-born Tejano star of the 1990’s, and it was the breakout film that launched Jennifer Lopez’s career. Not to mention, this is one of the few films that really demonstrates the struggle of multicultural identity that many Hispanic Americans face.
From Prada to Nada
Where you can watch it: Amazon Prime (with subscription) and YouTube (with subscription)
What it’s about: Loosely based on Jane Austen’s “Sense and Sensibility,” this movie shows the riches to rags story of two sisters who have to move from Beverly Hills to East LA after their father passes away. The sisters learn to embrace their culture, find meaning beyond material possessions and status and appreciate the community around them. This movie has goofy and lovable characters with fiestas, family and food.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Where you can watch it: Netflix (with subscription), Amazon Prime (with subscription), YouTube (with subscription)
What it’s about: In this alternate universe, Miles Morales, a Black Puerto Rican teenager from Brooklyn, is the one true Spiderman. He joins forces with spider-powered individuals from other universes to stop evil that threatens all dimensions. It’s a great day to see a Hispanic superhero finally move from the comic books to the big screen.
Where you can watch it: Disney+ (with subscription), Amazon Prime (with subscription), and YouTube (with subscription)
What it’s about: It’s not Hispanic heritage month without “Coco”, a movie about the Mexican holiday “Day of the Dead,” where many celebrate the lives of ancestors and deceased family members. Coco is about a young boy in Mexico who wants to pursue music despite his parents’ opposition and travels to the land of the dead to find his famous musician great-great-grandfather. Like many Disney movies, it’s hard to guarantee you won’t cry.
Gotta Kick It Up
Where you can watch it: Disney+ (with subscription), Amazon Prime(with subscription), and YouTube (with subscription)
What it’s about: This classic early 2000’s Disney Channel Original Movie is based on a true story of a teacher who helps young Latina girls grow and overcome obstacles in their high school dance troupe. If you want to watch a fun and inspirational coming of age movie, this is the one for you.
Where you can watch it: YouTube (with subscription), Amazon Prime (with subscription), Vudu (with subscription)
What it’s about: A Mexican American family sitcom set in LA, with an absolutely iconic title sequence that has lulled many a Gen Z to sleep. One of the first sitcoms centered around the Hispanic experience, this show hilariously highlighted the struggles and beauty of growing up as an American with Hispanic heritage.
Where you can watch it: Hulu (with subscription)
What it’s about: Set in the “Love, Simon” universe, this show centers around a Puerto Rican family living in Atlanta navigating traditions, coming of age and family values. Victor is a high school student who explores his sexuality amid the conflicts of his family and his new high school. The coming of age story for Hispanic and LGBTQ communities comes to light in this amazing and seriously underrated show.
Wizards of Waverly Place
Where you can watch it: Disney+ (with subscription) and Amazon Prime (with subscription)
What it’s about: A family of wizards living in New York City, where three teenage children come of age and go on adventures learning how to use their wizarding powers. In an Italian and Mexican American household, learning about their cultural roots was never amiss. With episodes of the kids learning Spanish, visiting family members with Hispanic guest stars, and Alex’s quinceanera, the show highlighted Mexican culture in such a beautiful and authentic way that not many teen shows have before.
Where you can watch it: Hulu (with subscription) , YouTube (with subscription), Amazon Prime (with subscription), NBC.com (free), TBS (with cable)
What it’s about: A squad of police officers in Brooklyn that fight crime and bond like a family. Rosa Diaz, a tough and brilliant detective, and Amy Santiago, an ambitious and adorkable detective, are hilarious and refreshing characters that stray away from the over-sexualized stereotypes of Latinas in modern media.
One Day at a Time
Where you can watch it: Netflix (with subscription), Hulu (with subscription), and YouTube (with subscription)
What it’s about: A Cuban American family sitcom featuring a Hispanic female veteran mom, a Cuban immigrant grandma, and a lesbian teenage daughter; the representation we never had but always needed. The show covers issues like PTSD, sexuality, immigration, and non-traditional family roles, which can be considered taboo among many Hispanic cultures.
Where you can watch it: Netflix (with subscription), YouTube (with subscription), and Amazon Prime (with subscription)
What it’s about: A drama based on New York City’s African American and Latino LGBTQ ballroom culture during the 1980s. This high energy show gives a fresh take on finding your chosen family and chasing your dreams.
On My Block
Where you can watch it: Netflix (with subscription)
What it’s about: A group of friends in a rough LA neighborhood navigating life, friendship and coming of age. This show features witty, admirable, and diverse characters in real situations that communities across the country face. It’s one of the few shows that portrays the highs and lows of growing up and navigating the world around you.
When They See Us
Where you can watch it: Netflix (with subscription)
What it’s about: Based on a true story, this show tells the story of five teenagers from Harlem who were falsely accused of an attack in Central Park. There are so many reasons to watch this show, namely, Jharrel Jerome, who was the first Afro-Latino to win an Emmy and first Latino period to win an outstanding lead actor in a limited series or movie because of this show. We love a win for Afro-Latinos everywhere, who often get excluded from discussions of Latino and Hispanic cultures.