Edited by Annabel Beyra
As Hispanic Heritage Month came to an end, I reflect on how we continue to box in the celebration of our heritage into one month. Why would we even want to limit the celebrating of all the aspects that make the Hispanic culture rich and diverse into 30 short days? I have been celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month since it was proclaimed by President George Bush Sr. in 1989. It has been more than 20 years now.
Consider this. We are now more than 60.6 million Hispanics in the United States and a good portion of this audience is English dominant. Many are second generation Hispanics like me that can toggle between Español and English all day long.
I can thank my mom for my fluency in Spanish due to her many pleas to me while growing up that sounded something like this: “Mija, solo háblame en español.” She didn’t want me to lose that one big connection to our culture – the language. I am of Spanish and Cuban decent and my travels have shown me the diversity within the Hispanic culture is one that amazes and confounds many.
Today, I hope that in a not-to-distant future we can celebrate what makes us different and what makes us the same all year round, and not limit ourselves to a day in the year or a designated month to be able to recognize a given ethnicity or culture.
It is all about inclusion and how we all lean in to recognize and gain a greater appreciation and understanding of our collective heritages.
While it is important to commemorate those that came before us – those that have accomplished much and have contributed to what makes this country great – who happen to have a Hispanic background – I believe it’s time to move toward inclusion of Hispanics in general market campaigns. Consider all of the things that make us tick as individuals from a given culture and weave them into your campaigns. After all we are a prominent part of the fabric of what our country is today . Hispanic inclusions can be done right and in English. Latinx audiences want to know that you see and hear them.
Julieta ‘Julie’ Lugones