September 15th to October 15th is Hispanic Heritage month, a time dedicated to recognizing the contributions, achievements, and influences that Hispanic Americans have made in history and culture. Here are just a few ways you can celebrate Hispanic Heritage, all while enjoying what our colorful culture has to offer!
1. Try a new dish
Hispanic food is delicious, there’s no doubt about it. And it’s open to anyone to try and make! Don’t just order from Taco Bell, look up recipes, ask around, and see if there’s something up your alley. You can try making empanadas, tacos, mole, ceviche, etc. Hispanic food is filled with variety, you can find meatless, sea food, spicy, or even savory foods! You’ll basically be able to find anything you could possibly crave. And I’ll give you a hint: when you make tacos, don’t use hard taco shells, use soft corn tortillas, just make sure to heat them up on the stove!
2. Read books by Hispanic authors
Books written by Hispanic authors often feature a unique voice or way of storytelling. They feature diverse characters and storylines, often taking inspiration from real life. These books are beautifully told and honest, expressing the parts of our culture that is not often shown in the media. Here are just a few of my favorites that I think anyone can enjoy:
– The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
– Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
– Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza by Gloria Anzaldúa
– Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
3. Watch movies with Hispanic stories
Just like books, movies with Hispanic stories show the world through the eyes of someone who grew up as Hispanic. It is beautiful and lively, full of love, but also shows the real pain that we can also experience. Her Campus at NMSU also just recently published an article by Nicole Liverett, where she recommends movies that feature Latinx stories, so I advise you to check it out!
4. Talk to your family
Maybe you’re like me and you come from a Hispanic family, and if so, talk to them! Ask them to reflect on their favorite memories. My favorite conversations with my grandma are when she talks to me about her family, people I have never met. When she brings up a funny memory I laugh with her too, because she makes me feel like I was there with her. She loves talking about how she lived in Juarez, Mexico, where she would feed all the stray cats around her house. Your family is living history, so be open to talking to them! You’ll probably learn something you never knew, or just understand your family and history better.
5. Support Hispanic brands/restaurants
Small brands are the most overlooked, and they’re also the most prone to getting their ideas stolen by larger, fast fashion brands. For this month, and possibly forever, try shopping at Hispanic stores. The same can be said for Hispanic restaurants, especially the ones that are family owned. Forget about Taco Bell, instead try that authentic food that you just know came from someone’s grandma’s recipe. Oftentimes, the quality in these brands/restaurants is higher than those that are non-Hispanic, who are just trying to make a quick buck. Hispanics are known for being hard working and taking pride in their work, so you know you’ll end up with the best.
Donating is an amazing way to recognize and help the Hispanic community. There are so many causes that deserve to be recognized, but here are just a few to help you get started. These groups have done great work educating, supporting, and fighting for the Hispanic community, and I can hope that they will continue to do so.