Professor reflects on Latinx and Hispanic Heritage Month
Bárbara Abadía-Rexach of Latina/o Studies gives her perspective on the annual celebration
Why is it important to celebrate Latinx and Hispanic Heritage Month?
What are some of your favorite ways to celebrate Latinx and Hispanic Heritage Month?
One of my favorite ways to celebrate is recognizing the different representations of what it means to be Latinx and Hispanic. Whether it’s shown through pop culture or seeing various organizations highlight Latinx and Hispanic voices during this month, it’s important to celebrate the diversity of our communities.
This is also an important time to teach people that although Latinx and Hispanic are socially constructed terms, we can embrace them in political and cultural ways. Sharing our stories about our triumphs and adversity is a way to do that. We need to show our power, intelligence, capabilities and all the knowledge we inherited from our ancestors.
What major successes have you seen from the Latinx and Hispanic community over the past few years?
There are two significant successes from the Latinx and Hispanic communities over the past few years that come to my mind: their growing presence in U.S. academia and reclaiming what it means to be Latinx and Hispanic. Education gives power and by acknowledging what it means to be Latinx and Hispanic in this country, can successfully advocate and fight for our rights.
To this day, the terms Hispanic and Latinx have been used to alienate these people. We’ve seen great progress to reappropriate these terms to make them more inclusive and accurately represent these communities. It’s a success that we are celebrating this month, talking about what work still needs to be done to reclaim these terms and amplifying this important conversation.