Celebrating Latinx Heritage Month 2023

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

The day of September 15 is significant because it is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September18, respectively.

This year’s theme is “Latinos: Driving Prosperity, Power, and Progress in America.” According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the Latinx community represents roughly 19% of the total U.S. population and is a group making significant progress in helping to drive the country’s prosperity forward, quickly becoming a powerful force crucial to America’s economic success.

Latinx Heritage Month offers us an opportunity to reflect on the profound influence of Hispanic and Latinx cultures and to appreciate the mosaic of backgrounds that make our nation stronger and more colorful. As we come together to learn, share, and celebrate, let us also remember the importance of unity, respect, and inclusion. Fenway Health’s diversity is our strength, and by understanding and appreciating each other’s cultures, we build bridges of understanding and create a brighter future for all.

There are many great ways to celebrate Latinx Heritage Month. A few we recommend include:

Here at Fenway Health, we are grateful every day for the many Latinx staff members, clients, patients, volunteers, 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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