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What Hispanic Heritage Month means to me

Since 1988, each fall from September 15 to October 15, the United States has celebrated National Hispanic Heritage Month. This month-long observation coincides with the anniversaries of independence of several Central and South American nations. It’s a time for people to reflect upon the vibrant historical, cultural, social and societal influence of Hispanic and Latinx people within the U.S. and throughout the world.

At EF Academy New York, we celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month with a variety of activities. Through poetry readings, dance lessons, assemblies and more, we learned from Hispanic and Latinx people within our community about their heritage and the places they call home. Below, a few students share their perspectives on the question: “What does Hispanic Heritage Month mean to you?” Read on to learn more about why this celebration is so important.

María, Nai and Chantal (left to right)

Our culture is something we should be proud about” – María, Mexico and Cuba

“I think Hispanic Heritage Month is a time of the year when we can reflect about how our cultures have influenced and shaped other cultures and places. There’s so much that Hispanic and Latinx people do here – and everywhere – that is not recognized or valued as much as other cultures or people groups. Often, we are not as highlighted as other ethnic influences in America. This is a time of year that we can recognize that, and reflect on the fact that our culture is something we should be proud about.”

We’re so much more than our stereotypes” – Chantal, Mexico

“To me, Hispanic Heritage Month means celebrating all Hispanics outside of their countries and recognizing that many Hispanic people do jobs that no one wants to do, like housekeeping or gardening. I think we should be better at recognizing this hard work and celebrating and embracing the fact that as Hispanic and Latinx people contribute so much to our societies. Sometimes we may sound funny with our accents and jokes but there’s so much more to us than these stereotypes!”

We are here, we are everywhere” – Nai, Argentina

“I also believe that in the U.S. there are many stereotypes in movies and TV shows. Often, Latinx people and Hispanics are portrayed as the funny character with a silly accent. As Chantal says we are much more than that. We are all people at the end of the day. I think this month is important to show that Hispanic and Latinx people can be anything – including funny, of course – independent of our ethnicity or nationality.

“I think Hispanic Heritage Month is important because it really validates us and our existence in the world. It’s basically saying ‘we are here, we are everywhere’. There are a lot of Hispanic and Latinx people all over the world. I think we have to understand that there are so many ethnicities that make up every place and community, and that’s what makes societies unique. Celebrating Hispanic heritage, and dedicating time to recognize other ethnicities and cultures reminds us that we are all together in this world.”

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