Latinx heritage month: celebrating and highlighting hispanic culture


"Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month Celebration 2019" by CSUF Photos is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Latinx Heritage Month should be celebrated by remembering their names and knowing their stories.

What makes someone Hispanic is more than the ability to say “hola” and speak fluent Spanish. The culture is about the foods, the music, the colors and the family-oriented environment. It’s about calling a random neighbor your “aunt” without any blood relation. It’s about being proud and fighting for the culture that has allowed Hispanics to be themselves in a cultural melting pot that is the United States.

Every year, the U.S. celebrates National Hispanic Heritage Month from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 in order to celebrate the contributions that Hispanic people made to the U.S. From figures such as Cesar Chavez, a civil rights activist during the 1960s, to Selena Quintanilla, a singer-songwriter who made the iconic “Como La Flor” song, Hispanic Americans have revolutionized the meaning of what it means to be Hispanic.

While mainstream media idolizes only generic and stereotypical aspects of Hispanic culture, there is much to appreciate about Hispanic Heritage. Every country in Latin America has its own way of making tacos or tamales. Every dish is different, and even just one added or missing ingredient can differentiate the amazing outcome.

The array of colors and music that brings life to a room, the beautiful art that attracts you with color combinations that should clash but somehow don’t, the exciting different styles of dancing that anyone can attempt to mimic and the music that from the moment the rhythm hits your body, you feel yourself swaying to.

Latin heritage adds an immense amount of diversity.

At Northwestern State University of Louisiana, the Center of Inclusion and Diversity has changed the name from Hispanic Heritage Month to Latinx Heritage Month. Latinx is the gender-neutral term for people of Hispanic descent without the gender normative connotation of the Spanish language. To the NSU community, it brings a sense of inclusiveness to Hispanics who are also a part of the LGBTQ+ community.

Hispanics in American society have been undermined for their talents for years, and it is during this month that they get to celebrate the accomplishments of a rich culture that brings unity from the standard of what they should be as members of American society.

Most commonly known for his boxing career, Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzales wrote a poem about what it is like to be both Hispanic and American in a society that fills you with confusion. He explores the many aspects of his culture while circling back to American principles, and how he is all of those characters in one.

“I am Joaquin, lost in a world of confusion, caught up in a whirl of a gringo society, confused by the rules, scorned by attitudes, suppressed by manipulation and destroyed by modern society,” as said in “I am Joaquin” written by Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzales.

Although Gonzales wrote this poem during the 1970s, the concept of Hispanics trying to make a name for themselves in American society still stands.

Latinx Heritage Month should be celebrated by remembering their names and knowing their stories. And it shouldn’t only be celebrated by Hispanic people. As members of a growing diverse university and society, we should strive to understand those among us and celebrate their cultures.