by Victoria Olsen
Cal Poly Humboldt is an Hispanic Serving institution (HSI), so it is significant for students and faculty to be knowledgeable of these events. Latinx Heritage Month takes place from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, acknowledging the time frame in which many Latin countries declared and gained independence.
“Hispanic Heritage Month is a moment to recognize and honor the history of struggle of Latinx people in the United States. To recognize their achievements, their successes and their contributions to this nation,” said El Centro Coordinator Fernando Paz.
Former President Lyndon B. Johnson signed this Hispanic Heritage Week into effect that same Sept. of 1968 following Latin heritage being acknowledged in the Civil Rights Movement. Years later, former President Ronald Reagan officially changed it to Hispanic Heritage Month in Aug. of 1988.
Sept. 15 marks the independence of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Sept. 16 celebrates Mexico, and Chile independence day is Sept. 18.
Latinx Heritage is a month of reflection, celebrating culture and growth. It is important to acknowledge one of the biggest questions and debates in the Hispanic/Latinx community right now is between the preference for being called “Latinx” or “Hispanic.”
“It’s a part of an ongoing debate, and discussion that’s happening within our community, and currently the debate around Latinx is that it is a term that is elitist, though it strives to be more gender inclusive and more embracing of everybody from Latin American descent…,” said El Centro Coordinator, Fernando Paz.
Paz also recognized that the term “Latinx” still fails to be completely inclusive and that the term does not translate well to the other spoken Latin languages.
José Juan Rodríguez Gutierrez is a student here at Cal Poly Humboldt and works in the El Centro office.
“I think it’s important for a lot of us Latin people that have been in the U.S. throughout our life and maybe have felt that our people have been ignored in the way history is told, but this is a time for us to let them know we’ve been here,” said Gutierrez. “Aquí hemos estado y aquí estaremos.”
Melissa Torres Esacalante is a student who enjoys spending time in El Centros office.
“It’s not very widely celebrated back home in the motherland, but like here, we kinda need to. We need to celebrate our accomplishments with what we’ve done here,” said Esaclante.
According to the U.S. The Department of Education, Hispanic Heritage Month this year is going to focus on the theme of “Building Prosperous and Healthy Communities.” Each week during the month will have a new goal or focus.
September 15: Hispanic Heritage Month Kick-Off Day
Week of September 19th: Jobs and the Economy
Week of September 26th: Climate
Week of October 3rd: Education and Investing in HSIs
Week of October 10th: Mental Health and Wellness
October 15: Last Day of Hispanic Heritage Month
“We have this term called ‘La Cultura Cura,’ it translates to culture heals, and it’s exactly that principle that there are elements within our cultural matrix that help us heal and become better and stronger, ideals, values, beliefs, those kinds of things,” Paz said.
People should spend this month recognizing the debates going on in Latin America. It is important to acknowledge the history and trauma of colonialism, and what we can do now to repair the damage.