Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month in 2021

3 min readSep 18, 2020

Did you know that September 16th is the day that Mexicans celebrate winning their independence from Spain? Many people mistakenly assume that Cinco de Mayo, an Americanized and often appropriated celebration, is Mexican independence day. Because Mexico and other Latin American countries celebrate their independence on or around September 15th, National Hispanic Heritage Month is observed each year from September 15th to October 15th. This is a time set aside to celebrate culture, history, heritage, and achievements of Hispanic American peoples. Since 1988, the US has observed this celebration, and yet it will look different this year, just as a lot of things have.

Hispanic Americans have been a part of this country since before it was a country, but their communities have carried the burdens of racism, genocides, and discrimination since the beginning as well. But the rich cultural traditions, faiths, arts, languages, and values that are held by Hispanic Americans add to the vibrancy of America. Today, we’re celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month by sharing some educational resources, ways to get involved in virtual events, and lifting up Hispanic American changemakers from yesteryear as well as today.


For many non-Hispanic Americans, it has not been a priority to correctly learn and use Hispanic American’s preferred terms. If you aren’t sure whether to use “Latinx,” “Chicano/a,” “Hispanic,” or “Spanish,” check out these helpful tips and equip yourself to be a better ally to those communities.

  • Hispanic generally refers to people from Spanish-speaking countries or with Spanish speaking ancestry, and descendants of people from those countries.
  • Latinx refers to people hailing from Latin America (Central and South America), whether they were born in those nations or their ancestors were. The X allows Latinx individuals to identify themselves without using exclusive, gendered terms (read more here).
  • People of Spanish-speaking origin who live in the eastern US often prefer “Hispanic” and those living in the western US often prefer “Latino.”
  • Chicano/a refers to Americans of Mexican descent, and, as a term, has recently been reclaimed by a new generation of individuals as a source of resistance and hope in the face of injustices.
  • Use a country’s name to describe someone who is from or is a citizen of that country (for example, Mexican or Argentinian).

What people call themselves, and what we call them, matters. This is true whether referring to someone using proper pronouns, pronouncing names correctly, and making sure to identify people with groups that they choose to identify with. Using the correct terms and names (or asking if you’re not sure) signals respect and honoring of individuals and their backgrounds.

Changemaking Hispanic Americans

Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month can also mean becoming aware of the contributions of Hispanic Americans to your community and the country in general. Do your research to learn about local events and leaders, or read about Latinx politicians known nationally for their service. Furthermore, keep in mind that supporting the Hispanic American community doesn’t just mean valuing their foods and traditions — it means supporting causes that affect the real people living in our world today. Learn how you can support Latino Civil Rights groups, or see how Hispanic American activists have made change over the years and be inspired by their passions and strategies.

If you are part of a Hispanic American community, I wish you the very best for a joyful and revolutionary month celebrating your power, worth, and heritage. May we live into a vision of an equitable community where all cultures and heritages can be celebrated fully.




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