10 Ways You Can Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month

We love eating tacos and singing “Despacito” as much as anyone else. But there’s so much more to Hispanic culture that everyone can enjoy, engage in and learn from. September 15 kicks off National Hispanic Heritage Month, and living in Dallas offers us hundreds of ways to celebrate the contributions of Hispanic culture. Here are ten suggestions to get you started so that you can keep the party going all month long. 

 

1. TRY THE FOOD!

There is SO much awesome food to try. Tacos, pupusas, tamales, pan dulce....my mouth is watering already. There are tons of awesome places to try some fabulous food around the area (you can find some suggestions for Mexican and Tex-Mex here). Bonus points if you can explore the city to find some authentic cuisine that supports small businesses and local restaurant owners. A lot of times, when it comes to food, the smallest places can provide the best taste.

2. Check Out New Books + Movies + TV Shows

Books, movies and TV shows are an awesome way of empathizing with others. These stories put Hispanic characters at the center, but are definitely entertaining for all. Check out classics like "West Side Story" or "Stand and Deliver" while also looking into newer favorites like "Coco" (if and only if you have a box of tissues at the ready). You can also check out some hallmarks of Hispanic literature like "The House on Mango Street" or "How The García Girls Lost Their Accents." For a fabulous up-and-coming novel, "I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter" is a must-read. Binge worthy TV shows include "Jane The Virgin," "Ugly Betty" and personal favorite, "One Day At A Time."

3. Switch Up Your Playlist

We truly stan music with a bop, and Hispanic music just has a rhythm that cannot be beat. This month, try switching up your playlist to try out artists both classic (like our girl Selena) and contemporary. There are so many popular artists out there (including Shakira, Pitbull, Daddy Yankee, Luis Fonsi and wayyyy way more) so to try your tastes, check out the "Amplify: 100% LatinX" playlist on Spotify and play around. Try something new and don't be afraid to dance with it because, as Cardi B would say, "we like it like that."

4. Learn Some Spanish!

Don't worry, you don't have to get fluent over the course of a month. But no matter how mono-linguistic you think you are, it can be super easy and super fun to learn just a couple of basic phrases. Plus, you'll seem that much more ~cultured~ and you'll be able to communicate with so many more people. Try apps like Duolingo to learn some quick phrases and SpanishDict to make accurate, immediate translations.

5. Support Hispanic Brands

 

Image via Vivalabonita.com

 

With these brands, you can support some amazing women breaking glass ceilings while looking fly af at the same time. Viva La Bonita and Brown Badass Bonita celebrate Hispanic culture through super cute clothing and accessories, while Reina Rebelde brings the bright colors of a brilliant culture to life through makeup and other beauty products. You can also follow their social media pages to brighten up your feed with daily fashion + girl boss inspo.

6. Attend A Cultural Performance

There's nothing quite like experiencing art when it's right there in front of you. Luckily, Dallas has tons of resources to bring Hispanic art and culture front and center. For cutting edge plays, check out Cara Mía Theater Co. (you can learn about their current production here). Additionally, you can enjoy Hispanic cinema, dance classes, and even games at the Latino Cultural Center.

7. Consider Studying Abroad

Why not delve further into your love of Hispanic culture by actually going to visit one of the beautiful cities that make up the Spanish-speaking world? While learning is a lifelong process, you can spend a summer, semester, or year abroad immersing yourself in the customs that make this culture so incredible. SMU offers abroad programs in Spain (including Madrid, Seville and Barcelona) as well as Costa Rica, so you can take your studies outside of Dallas or travel on your own to over 20 countries where Spanish is the official and predominant language. 

8. Get Educated

We can never know everything, but we can certainly keep on trying. Use this month as an opportunity to learn about the incredible men and women of the past and present who have contributed to our country (and in a lot of cases, more than one) and made Hispanic culture all it is today. There is so much to be proud of, and there are so many brilliant people who overcame crazy obstacles to succeed. Open up informal conversations with your friends, or check out more formal sources like the Latino USA podcast for relevant news affecting Hispanic communities.

9. Get Involved In The Community

There are tons of opportunties to get involved with the Hispanic community both on and off campus. SMU offers ways to get involved with organizations like College Hispanic American Students, League of United Latin American Citizens and Association of Mexican Entrepeneurs just to name a few. If you're looking to extend your involvement into the greater Dallas, Texas, or national community, consider checking out organizations like the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Legal Services (RAICES) or UnidosUS.

10. Be proud!! Slay!! Celebrate!!!

Whether you're taking pride in your own culture or celebrating a different perspective, National Hispanic Heritage Month is a time to reflect on all the amazing things that make your background so special, to honor those who paved the way before you and to remember your role as the one who's going to keep moving greatness forward. Keep on achieving, keep on slaying and order the extra taco. You deserve it. Happy celebrating!!