We’re Celebrating Latinx Heritage Month!
This month we honor Latinx culture through traditional food and by sharing the contributions of Weaver Street’s Latinx employees. Honoring our Latinx communities is an exciting step on our journey to become a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive co-op. Join the celebration by buying products from Latinx producers—look for the Celebrate Latinx Heritage image.
Your purchases automatically make a donation to our Latinx Heritage Fund, which benefits our four partner organizations:
EL CENTRO HISPANO works to strengthen the community, build bridges and advocate for equity and inclusion for Hispanics/Latinos in the Triangle area of North Carolina. www.elcentronc.org
EL PUEBLO is a nonprofit, community-based organization. Their mission is to build collective power through leadership development, organizing, and direct action so that the Latin American community and other marginalized communities control their own stories and destinies. https://elpueblo.org/
EL FUTURO is a one-of-a-kind place where Spanish-speaking immigrants can access culturally-responsive mental health services. They are a community-based program, founded as a volunteer effort in 2001 to meet the otherwise unmet need for bilingual mental health services for the growing Latino immigrant community in NC. https://elfuturo-nc.org
LATINO COMMUNITY CREDIT UNION was founded in 2000 as a grassroots response to a wave of robberies and muggings of Latino immigrants in Durham, NC. Since then, it has become a national model for credit unions and community development financial institutions seeking to serve unbanked individuals and immigrant communities. https://latinoccu.org
What is Latinx Heritage Month?
The United States of America could be considered a mosaic, symbolizing the mixture of the different cultures and ethnicities that make our country so unique. Based on the 2019 census data, 18.5% of the U.S. population is Hispanic or Latino.* This listing is the largest ethnic minority in our country. Hispanic Americans have contributed to our armed services, arts and entertainment, foods, and culture, amongst other things. Not to speak to the achievements of Hispanic Americans in our nation’s history is to omit a large piece of who we are.
The National Hispanic Heritage Week bill was signed in 1968 by President Lyndon B. Johnson, designating a weeklong nationwide celebration of Hispanic Americans. September 15th was chosen as its start, marking the Independence Day of the Latin American countries of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua from Spain. The week, also marked by the September 16th Independence Day of Mexico from Spain, began the intentional acknowledgement of the contributions of the Hispanic culture to the rich culture of this nation.
Two days after its creation, in 1988, President Ronald Reagan elongated the bill from lasting one week to one month – from September 15th to October 15th. This extension allowed for the inclusion of two additional Independence Days – that of Chile (September 18th) and Belize (September 21st), from Spain and Great Britain, respectively.
Why do we use the term Latinx?
Milagros Chirinos with the Human Rights Campaign explains that HRC has adopted the term “Latinx” rather than Hispanic or Latino to represent the identities of non-binary, gender non-conforming and gender-expansive people. “Latinx” also centers the lives of indigenous, Brazilian and other non-Spanish speaking people in this celebration.
Juliana Martínez, author and assistant professor at American University, provides an apt description of Latinx here: “Latinx” is a newer term that has recently gained popularity among scholars, activists and millennials that is inclusive of gender-expansive and gender non-conforming individuals. Additionally, “Latinx” challenges the binary nature of the Spanish-language term Latino(a). The powerful “X” has opened the door to a variety of identities, and it is also used in the term “Chicanx(o/a)” to highlight the broad indigenous heritage of many groups.*
* Milagros Chirinos, Latinx Heritage Month: More Than One Word, More Than One Heritage, September 13, 2019