Updated: Sep 9, 2021
From the Desk of Natalia Rice, Equity Officer for New View Alliance
Hispanic and Latino/x Heritage Month begins on September 15th and lasts until October 15th. Keep reading to learn more about the history of this commemorative month, as well as ways to honor and celebrate the cultures, contributions, and histories of Hispanic and Latino/x communities across the nation and around the world.
National Hispanic Heritage Month, also referred to as Latino/x Heritage Month, recognizes and honors the histories, cultures, and contributions of Americans from or with ancestors across the Caribbean, Mexico, Central and South America, and Spain. This time for formal, national commemoration originally began in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week, but was expanded in 1988 to cover a 30-day period, from September 15th to October 15th. The celebration begins in the middle of September to coincide with the national independence days of several Latin American countries:
September 15th: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua
September 16th: Mexico (El Grito de Dolores)
September 18th: Chile (Dieciocho)
September 21st: Belize
Additional dates to know include September 23rd, which is the anniversary of El Grito de Lares, Puerto Rico’s first revolution for independence in 1868. October 10thmarks the anniversary of Chile’s Independence Day (El Grito de Yara).
Hispanic and Latino/x Heritage Month is a time for celebration of cultural heritages, histories, and community. It also presents a powerful opportunity to propel conversations around identity, cultural diversity, belonging, justice, and equity on both a local and national level. Here are just a few opportunities to take part and celebrate not only this month, but all year long:
Support the Hispanic Heritage Council of Western New York
The HHC of WNY is a nonprofit organization that exists to foster and inspire awareness, understanding, and appreciation of past, present, and future contributions of the Hispanic Community in Western New York. Check out their website to learn more about community resources and events happening throughout the year!
Visit El Buen Amigo
El Buen Amigo is the Latin American Cultural Association’s (LACA) fair trade storefront and Spanish learning center located in the heart of Buffalo’s Allentown district. In addition to offering Spanish language classes, cooking and dance lessons, and Cultural Extension and Immersion programs for youth, this community staple also offers fair trade arts, crafts, clothing and coffee direct from artisans and farmers in Latin America. El Buen Amigo’s stated mission is to “provide impoverished individuals from developing countries with a living income and the opportunity to maintain a sustainable lifestyle for themselves and their families.” El Buen Amigo also strives to “grow solidarity with and showcase to non-Latino/x people the beauty and value of Latino/x culture, a resilient lifestyle that has overcome the greatest tests of slavery, poverty, war, and segregation.” You can find El Buen Amigo in the heart of Buffalo’s Allentown district at 114 Elmwood Avenue.
Check out a virtual staged reading of El Closet Mágico, written by María Pérez-Gómez
Presented by Buffalo’s own Raíces Theatre Company, El Closet Mágico (The Magic Closet) is a children’s musical that invites its audience to accompany Rosalía as she uses her imagination to travel to her Mami’s homeland, Puerto Rico, where they meet some colorful friends and travel to majestic landmarks of the beautiful island. Along the way,they sing, they dance and find their way using courage as their guide.
Tickets to the virtual performance can be purchased for $10 per household here.
Children’s Books: Reading together is a great way to learn more about diverse identities, cultures, customs, and traditions!
My Papi Has a Motorcycle by Isabel Quintero
Islandborn by Junot Díaz
Frida Kahlo: The Artist Who Painted Herself by Margaret Frith The First Rule of Punk by Celia C. Pérez
Portraits of Hispanic American Heroes by Juan Felipe Herrera
Yes! We Are Latinos: Poems and Prose About the Latino Experience by Alma Flor Ada and F. Isabel Campoy
La Princesa and the Pea by Susan Middleton Elya
The Day of the Dead/ El Día de Los Muertos by Bob Barner
Carmela Full of Wishes by Matt de la Peña and Christian Robinson
Just Ask!: Be Different, Be Brave, Be You by Sonia Sotomayor
Turning Pages: My Life Story by Sonia Sotomayor
Mango, Abuela, and Me by Meg Medina
Waiting for the Biblioburro by Monica Brown
La Brega: Stories of the Puerto Rican Experience, hosted by Alana Casanova-Burgess (available in English and Spanish)
The Latin American History Podcast, hosted by Max Serjeant
In the Thick, hosted by Maria Hinojosa and Julio Ricardo Varela
Latino Rebels Radio, hosted by Julio Ricardo Varela
Tamarindo Podcast, hosted by Brenda Gonzalez and Ana Sheila Victorino
Latino USA, NPR
Latino Rebels Radio, hosted by Julio Ricardo Varela
Radio Ambulante, NPR (available only in Spanish)
Parenting & Politics, hosted by Diana Limongi
Las Doctoras, hosted by Renee Kemus and Cristina Rose
An opportunity to learn, improve, or practice your Spanish:
News in Slow Spanish, Linguistica 360
Tres Cuentos, hosted by Carolina Quiroga-Stultz (a bilingual podcast available in English and Spanish)
El Misterio de la Calle de Cervantes (The Mistery of Cervantes Street), Babbel
Duolingo Spanish Podcast
Yeah, No, I’m Not Ok, hosted by Diane Guerrero
En la Sala, hosted by Becky G
Latinx Therapy, hosted by Adriana Alejandre, LMFT
Culture, music, and entertainment:
Beat Latino, hosted by Catalina Maria Johnson
Latina to Latina, hosted by Alicia Menendez