Hispanic Culture Represented Throughout America

Individuals across the nation are spreading their culture, traditions, and educating with those who are not familiar with the culture. 

Sep. 15 to Oct. 15 is a special, beautiful, and festival time for Hispanic individuals. Between these dates, hugs, laughs, smiles, and tears are being erupted throughout America. From Vicente Ferndandez playing in Mexican households, to tamales de chipilin being made, and marimba playing throughout the Guatemalan household.

When entering high school, a young latina woman, Amy Hernandez, wanted to see her culture get represented in school. Growing up, she often loved participating in her culture, whether that meant dancing or cooking her favorite dishes and sharing them with her loved ones. Throughout her school years she often discovered that many cultures were often represented but her culture was left out.

“I am a member of the Hispanic committee for my school, I help plan meetings, give ideas on ways to show Latin representation across the school, recently for spirit week we asked our students to wear red in representation of the Latinx community, we assigned each classroom a specific latin country, and they had to decorate their door based on that countries culture, to show representation for Hispanic Heritage Month,” stated Hernandez. ”The mission of the Hispanic Heritage/Latinx Committee is to spread awareness and representation of the hispanic community, since not so much representation is shown at school. Two years ago the only representation was a girl dancing flokotito, that only represented Mexican culture, not Puerto rican, Salvadorans, etc.” 

Hispanic Heritage Month has not always been a month-long celebration. Matter of fact, it was not always represented in America. Throughout the years, latino activists have improved this. In an article by Vannessa Romo “Yes, We’re Calling It Hispanic Heritage Month And We Know It Makes Some Of You Cringe” from NPR, states, “Hispanic Heritage Month initially began as a weeklong celebration in 1968 under President Lyndon Johnson… It wasn’t until 1988 that President Ronald Reagan extended the week to a full 31 days — through Oct. 15 — keeping the Sept. 15 start date because it coincides with national independence day of Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Costa Rica. Similarly, Mexico celebrates on the 16th.”

In many schools, the history of these important dates are appealed to be spoken of, the beautiful and creative side of hispanic culture is what is brought to the attention. Although culture is built of joy and traditions, it is also built upon hardships and obstacles.

Dancing, music, food, and family, is what Omar Hall, a young African American man, pictures when he hears the phrase Hispanic Heritage. Like Hall, many non-hispanics who are not too familiar with the Hispanic culture are not taught the hardships and history of Hispanic culture in the classroom. The Hispanic/Latinx community shares many similar traditions to other cultures.

“My whole life I’ve seen a division between communities and always wondered why we all share many of the same traditions. Everyone’s culture deserves to be shared with the world, so I feel like hispanic heritage month is incredibly important for us non hispanics to grasp the hispanic history and culture that is often not talked about,” stated Hall. “My favorite part of Hispanic Heritage Month is learning the different traditions and learning about the stories of many of my classmates hispanic backgrounds.”

From crossing the border on foot, to being discriminated against, many Hispanics have a story to tell, but are often shut down and their voices are never heard. In an article from History entitled, “The Brutal History of Anti-Latino Discrimination in America” by Erin Blakemore stated, “In 1931, police officers grabbed Mexican-Americans in the area, many of them U.S. citizens, who were then deported to Mexico, regardless of their citizenship or immigration status. The raid was just one incident in a long history of discrimination against Latino people in the United States. Since the 1840s, anti-Latino prejudice has led to illegal deportations, school segregation and even lynching.” 

As a child, all Jose Navarro wanted to obtain was a career in professional soccer leagues. As he grew older, he wanted to spread awareness and representation in his community. He was often upset with the very little Hispanic culture he would see on campus. Growing up he determined that what he wanted to do was be an activist/educator of the Hispanic community.

“The media tends to show the stereotypical things, not the home based cultural dances, foods, traditions, etc. Within the community, my team and I have established hispanic memorials to show our hispanic representation throughout the city,” stated Navarro. “At the schools I’ve attended, I noticed there is often representation for a lot of cultures, however I see that hispanic culture is often left out or misinterpreted.”

There are many ways to show support to the Hispanic/Latinx community during Sept. 15 to Oct. 15. Many can show their support to small Hispanic owned businesses. Although Salvadorians, Dominicans, Mexicans, Columbians, Cubans, are all Hispanic, they have many differences in their cultures that throughout this time will be celebrated.