Celebrating Latinx Heritage Month 2022

September 15 through October 15 marks Latinx Heritage Month – also known as Hispanic Heritage Month – which honors and celebrates the vibrant histories, languages, traditions, values, and contributions of people whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. The yearly observation began in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week and became a month-long celebration in 1988.

This year’s theme is “Unidos: Inclusivity for a Stronger Nation.” According to the Hispanic Heritage Month website, this theme “encourages us to ensure that all voices are represented and welcomed to help build stronger communities and a stronger nation.” Ily Soares, Supervisory Accountant at Farm Credit Administration (FCA) submitted the winning theme. As she explained:

“Hispanics in the United States are a diverse group who bring a rich combination of language, culture, educational backgrounds, and experience to the great American experiment. This diverse background brings with it a wealth of ideas and perspectives. One uniting factor within our Hispanic community is our desire to be included and represented in all aspects of American society. As has been proven, when different voices are sitting at the metaphorical table and included in key decisions, the entire community benefits from greater solutions that address concerns from all people. Whether it be education, government, business, or the environment, ensuring that all voices are represented provide results in better and more thoughtful decisions. These improved decisions support the greater good and minimize any negative impacts to marginalized communities and People of Color. We call on citizens of this nation from all walks of life to look around and welcome new voices to the table. This will help us build stronger communities and in turn, a stronger nation.”

There are many great ways to celebrate Latinx Heritage Month. We recommend:

 

Here at Fenway Health, we are grateful every day for the many Latinx staff members, clients, patients, board members, and supporters that are part of our Fenway Health community. Their contributions and perspectives help drive Fenway’s mission: to advocate for and deliver innovative, equitable, accessible health care, supportive services, and transformative research and education and to center LGBTQIA+ people, BIPOC individuals, and other underserved communities to enable our local, national, and global neighbors to flourish.

We’d like to wish our entire Fenway Health community a joyful Latinx Heritage Month!

A quick note about language:

Technically, the term “Hispanic” is used to describe people who speak Spanish or are descended from Spanish-speaking populations in, for example, Spain, Cuba, or Puerto Rico. “Latinx,” by contrast, describes people who come from or are descended from people in Latin America regardless of whether they speak Spanish. (For example, most Brazilians speak Portuguese and would not be considered Hispanic, despite being in South America.) These distinctions have, at times, generated debate. Many people and organizations nonetheless use both words interchangeably. For example, in public polling and research, the Pew Research Center doesn’t distinguish between the terms.

The use of the term “Latinx” is also an example of how language adapts. Just as the term “Latino” gradually replaced the term “Hispanic” in popular usage, the term “Latino” has also been contested around gendered masculine term as neutral. Since then, terms like “Latina,” “Latinx,” and “Latine” have increased in popular usage to provide more room and complexity around gender and pronunciation of the Spanish language. Yet, even these terms are evolving and contested in their regular use and acceptance. For the time, Fenway Health uses the term “Latinx” to affirm the presence and experience of transgender and non-binary persons within this community.

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