Latino culture is indelibly woven into the very fabric of American culture. And likewise, American culture and products have been adopted and absorbed by Hispanic people as well; what Latin kid wasn't swathed in Vicks VapoRub or given room temperature 7-Up when they were sick growing up? How many abuelas told their grandkids to keep it down when la Judge Judy was on? For me, Hispanic Heritage Month is about more than just celebrating Latin contributions to the culture at large. It's about that grand mix that our combined cultures have become - our America.
It wasn't always this way; it took decades of civil rights activism to bring awareness to the contributions of the Hispanic and Latin populations. As a way of honoring this, in 1968 President Johnson declared Hispanic Heritage week. In the 1980s, President Reagan extended the recognition to a month-long celebration spanning from September 15th through October 15th. The reason that September 15th kicks off Hispanic Heritage month is that it is the day of independence for El Salvador, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Honduras. Mexico celebrates its independence on the 16th and Chile's Independence Day is on the 18th.
Ordinarily, there would be a wide variety of events taking place throughout the Bay Area to celebrate Hispanic Heritage. However, during these unusual times, many events may not take place at all. However, there are still many ways to safely commemorate Latino contributions to our communities.
Challenge yourself to try a new cuisine! Many of us are familiar with tacos, tostadas and tamales, but there's so much more food to explore. While Mexican restaurants are well-loved and rightly so, remember that there are also Guatemalan, Cuban, and Salvadorean restaurants serving delicious food right here in the Bay Area. Most Latin communities all use the same core ingredients, and it's fun to see how those same basics are transformed in the hands of another cuisine. The next time you are searching Yelp for something different, how about trying Salvadorean pupusas or Puerto Rican arroz con pollo?
Do you like old movies? Try watching a film from the golden age of Mexican cinema. You may even recognize some of the minor characters portrayed in Disney's Coco. Search our catalog for Pedro Infante, Cantinflas, or Dolores del Rio. Prefer something a little more modern? The library also has a lot of telenovelas you can check out, as well.
Read a book! It goes without saying, AC Library has an outstanding collection of books by various Hispanic authors, both fiction and non-fiction.
September 15th through October 15th marks Hispanic Heritage Month, a month-long celebration recognizing the cultures, achievements and successes of Latinos in the U.S. This list aims to present a little taste of what it means to be Latino in the U.S.
What does Hispanic Heritage mean to you?