Celebrate Latinx Heritage Month with San Mateo County Libraries from September 15 through October 15! Latinx Heritage Month started as a week-long celebration known as Hispanic Heritage Week by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1968 and it was extended to its current month-long format by President Ronald Reagan in 1988. The goal was to celebrate the past and present accomplishments of the Latinx community, as well as a recognition of the discrimination these groups faced. Some good examples are the Chicano Movement, opens a new window of 1968 as well as when the Young Lords demanded reform in the Latinx communities of East Harlem.
The Latinx Community is Diverse
The next question is why we’ve seen a movement away from calling it Hispanic Heritage Month? The term Hispanic is contested by some in the Latinx community, since it’s indicative of a person whose cultural traditions originate from Spain: the problem is that this alienates the existing indigenous cultures that already existed prior to Spain coming to the Americas. Not to mention the Spanish-speaking Afro-Caribbean countries like Cuba and the Dominican Republic. Latinx is a term that can describe the diverse group of people from Latin America as well as those with ties to European countries with Latin-based languages. The Latinx term is also more inclusive by removing the associated gender from the descriptor, making it apt for people of all gender identities.
Despite these diverse roots, Latinx communities are bonded through their struggle for racial and social justice. The Bracero Program, opens a new window of 1942 brought much needed Mexican labor in United States agriculture during World War 2, but also served as a way for farmers to underpay Mexican workers and exploit their labor. Many Mexican workers were denied entrance into White establishments like restaurants and movie theaters. Whether it was the United Farm Workers, opens a new window union lead by Cesar Chavez, or the Young Lords which began fighting for social justice in impoverished Puerto Rican communities in Chicago and expanded to New York supporting Afro-Caribbean communities with Latin roots, they all share in the adversity they faced and their struggle for racial and social justice.
Celebrate Latinx Heritage Month with our awesome slate of programs:
Celebrate Mexican culture with Ballet Folklorico México Vivo. You won't want to miss this celebration of music, dance and community. All ages welcome.
Come enjoy the lively musical stylings of Mariachi Tapatio. Specializing in the traditional mariachi music of Jalisco, Mariachi Tapatio masterfully combines tradition and innovation to create a one-of a-kind listening experience for all ages to enjoy.
Check out our list of Latin American, Central American and South American authors.