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