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The AFS upper school during Javier Ávilas visit organized by HOLA
Courtesy of HOLA
The AFS upper school during Javier Ávila’s visit organized by HOLA

The United States celebrates National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15. This month commemorates Hispanic and Latine culture in the Americas. 

This is a significant holiday for many Central American countries that gained independence from Spain mid-September. The month’s end typically coincides with the Día de la Raza, a holiday celebrating the culture of indigenous populations as opposed to celebrating Christopher Columbus. 

Across Latin America, Independence Days are the highlights of September festivities. Freedom from Spain is memorialized through parades, fireworks, parties, and festivals throughout the continent. 

A key component of the month’s celebration is to spread awareness of all Latine/Hispanic people. With Spanish being a gendered language, it is often hard for Spanish speakers to find gender neutral equivalents for words such as Latino/a to give genderqueer people an opportunity to be represented. 

Americans have started using the word, Latinx, for Hispanic people. However, many Hispanics have found this word to be difficult to pronounce and alien because it was created by English-speaking people from the U.S. 

An award-winning article in the New York Times, For Most Latinos, Latinx Does Not Mark the Spot by Evan Odegard Pereira, illustrates the dilemma and provides a more inclusive, authentic word: Latine. This word removes the gendered language while respecting Hispanic culture and the Spanish language. 

 This month is incredibly meaningful because it’s important for every Latine/Hispanic-identifying person to feel represented,  especially in the U.S.A where Spanish-speaking citizens are still a minority.  

Hispanic or Latine Affinity (HOLA) would like to wish everyone a great Mes de la Hispanidad. We aspire to give everyone who is Latine-identifying a voice for both this month and the rest of the year.

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