Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month recognizes, honors, and celebrates the resilience, contributions, and cultures of Hispanic, Chicanx, and all Latinx-identified people from America and with ancestors from Mexico, the Caribbean, Spain, and Central and South America.
The formal observance of National Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month began in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 as a monthlong celebration running from September 15 to October 15. It was enacted into law on August 17, 1988, through the approval of Public Law 100-402. September 15 was chosen as the starting date for the monthlong observance as it marks the anniversary of independence for the Latin American countries of Nicaragua, Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica, and Honduras. Mexico’s Independence Day is September 16, and Chile celebrates its independence on September 18.
Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month celebrates the rich cultures, histories, and diversity of the wider Hispanic American community. The 2022 Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month national theme, Unidos: Inclusivity for a Stronger Nation, underscores the importance of ensuring diverse voices and perspectives are welcome, thus strengthening our communities and country. When all voices are heard and have a “seat at the table,” the entire community benefits from different perspectives, leading to better and more thoughtful decisions and solutions.
The EcoBlock team recognizes the important linkages between environmental justice and racial justice. For example, Latinos are 165% more likely to live in communities with unhealthy air pollution. This 2022 theme, “Unidos: Inclusivity for a Stronger Nation” highlights the importance of engaging all voices and ensuring representation for a stronger, more resilient future. Ily Soares, who submitted the winning theme, stated:
“Hispanics in the United States are a diverse group who bring a rich combination of language, culture, educational backgrounds, and experience to the great American experiment. This diverse background brings with it a wealth of ideas and perspectives… [W]hen different voices are sitting at the metaphorical table and included in key decisions, the entire community benefits from greater solutions that address concerns from all people…These improved decisions support the greater good and minimize any negative impacts to marginalized communities and people of color. We call on citizens of this nation from all walks of life to look around and welcome new voices to the table. This will help us build stronger communities and in turn, a stronger nation.”
The EcoBlock team stands with local residents, partners, and all those working for environmental justice. We celebrate the contributions of the Hispanic/Latinx community and will work to create an equitable, sustainable future for all.
- Berkeley Public Library events
- National Museum of the American Latino (Smithsonian) resources
- Smithsonian exhibit: Presente! A Latino History of the United States
- National Museum of the American Latino (Smithsonian) Bilingual Resources
- Oakland University films available for screening online
- Activities for kids in Oakland/the East Bay
- “Unidos: Inclusivity for a Stronger Nation” (2022 Winning Theme submitted by Ily Soares)
Cover image credit: Oakland EcoBlock