National Hispanic Heritage Month kicked off yesterday and many Hispanic celebrities took to social media to promote the exercise to vote within the Hispanic community, which is the largest minority group in the United States today.
HHM runs from Sept. 15- Oct. 15, and during that month we learn more about the diversity of the culture and celebrate the achievements and major contributions of Hispanic-Americans to this country. This year’s vibe; however, is more of a political vibe than a celebratory vibe. It seems to me that this year in particular Republicans and Democrats alike are focused and determined to fight for “el voto Latino” (Latin vote) and are willing to do whatever to snatch it.
In 2016 the United States Census Bureau reported that 56.6 million Hispanics live in the US, a little over 40 million were American citizens but only about 12.65 million showed up to the polls last election. That is one of the reasons why Hispanic voter turnout is so important to both political parties. We are only 48 days away from Election Day and it feels as if the official countdown started with the celebration!
But don’t let the pressure get to you and get to celebrating! I know this year has been a peculiar one with COVID-19 taking the entire world by storm and paralyzing it. But 7 months into the pandemic we have become masters on COVID protocols, virtual events, and “small” gatherings, which I’m not sure if there is such a thing as a small Hispanic gathering.
Here are some ideas to get you in the mood:
•Hosting a virtual or not Latin Night is one of my favorite activities. You can either turn it into a potluck and have your friends and family cook something different and share the background of the dish or do Taco night and learn about the Mexican staple. Remember to play some salsa.
• Hosting an outdoor movie night to watch a Hispanic movie that not only showcases the struggle of being Hispanic in the US, but also underlines the hope, pride, and achievements of Hispanics is always a good reminder for the new generation of Hispanic Americans where they come from. El Norte, Stand and Deliver, The Mambo Kings, Tortilla Soup, Under the Same Moon, Cesar Chavez, and Stolen Education are some movies you should add to the list.
•If you are still iffy about stepping out of the house reading a book to learn about Hispanic culture may be a good fit for you. But if you want to attend an event away from home search for events near you, some cities are hosting events as they are fully opened. You can also support Latino-owned businesses.
•If you are from Miami visit MiamiandBeaches and browse the calendar of events.
Did you know that the word Hispanic was coined by a Mexican-American woman (Grace Flores-Hughes) and U.S. Government employee in 1975? The word was created to group together people from Spanish-speaking countries and Latin America and was first added to a U.S. census in 1980.
By Cynthia Paola Bautista