Nationally, Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated Sept. 15-Oct.15. Alternatively, at the U, "Latinx celebration" is a way to recognize the intersecting identities that exist within the Latinx/Hispanic community and an opportunity to showcase cultures, experiences and stories from the community. Learn more about his year's theme, Celebrate/é, in the video below.
If your school, college or department has a Latinx Celebration Month event in the works, submit your information through this form. These events will be compiled into one calendar and assist with cohesive outreach efforts across the entire U system. For any questions, please contact Xris Macias at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please keep in mind that Latinx programming should not be limited to these dates. We must strive to honor, celebrate and engage with our Latinx community every day, 12 months a year. We encourage everyone to use the LatinxX12 mark on their event promotion to honor individuals’ intersecting identities not only during nationally recognized months year-round in recognition of the work being done to create inclusive spaces where everyone feels they belong.
Pamela Bishop: Hello, everyone. I’m Pamela Bishop. I’m the director of marketing and communications for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, and I’m pleased to be speaking with this morning two people who’re going to talk about Latinx Heritage Month.
First, we have with us Xris Macias who is the director of the Dream Center. And then, we are also pleased to have Morgan Aguilar who’s a graduate student and also a communications specialist here at the university.
So thank you, both, for joining us this morning, and I’d like to talk to you a little bit more about, both personally and across the university, what do you think is the importance of Latinx Heritage Month? So, let’s start with you, Xris.
Xris Macias: Thank you, Pamela. I appreciate the opportunity to speak on this.
Latinx Heritage Month is something that the university would like to be a part of because we feel that there’s a community that needs to be celebrated on our campus and beyond in our community as well. And there are a lot of individuals here who bring a rich diversity to our university campus and community that need to be recognized, need to be celebrated, and need to have their voices centered when it comes to speaking of their own culture and communities.
Pamela Bishop: Awesome. Thanks, Xris. Morgan, tell me about it from your perspective as a student.
Morgan Aguilar: Yeah, thank you. So I think for me, it’s really important to just be spreading awareness and understanding around the fact that there is so much diversity among those who do identify as Latinx.
So, for example, for me, my dad’s family has lived in what is now northern New Mexico since about 1650 — back when that was new Spain. But my mom’s White. I grew up in North Idaho. I speak very mediocre intermediate Spanish, but that doesn’t make me any less Hispanic or Latinx, right? So my dad’s side of the family still has a really rich culture and traditions that I’m really proud to be a part of. I’m proud to be a part of the Latinx community.
So I really like that this is a chance for us to kind of move toward using “Latinx Heritage” instead of “Hispanic Heritage Month,” which is recognized nationally. It feels more inclusive of all of the intersecting identities that exist within that community. And then I think it’s important too for everyone to kind of learn that “Hispanic” is really a term that was created by the government to sort of lump, I think, many different people from different backgrounds together. So just important to recognize this month, this time of year, that there’s a tremendous diversity of background and experiences within that term. And I think this is a great opportunity for folx of all identities to learn about that and kind of engage with the Latinx community.
Pamela Bishop: Now that it is so true, Morgan, what you said about, you know, the history of the month and the naming of the month, and that’s why we at the university have really chosen to do “Latinx Celebration Month.”
And so, Xris, talk about the words “celebration” and “celebrate.” What do you want people to take away from that, and why is that important?
Xris Macias: Right. So if I can just touch back on the word “Latinx” for a second to add to the word “celebration”…so “Latinx” again like what Morgan was explaining is because we want to be a bit more inclusive, right? And so specifically what that means is…what we could call gender neutral as well, right — female, male, gender non-binary, trans individuals, etc. And so within that we’re taking that identity and making it something beyond, but also “celebration” to speak to that means to celebrate each of those individual identities and interesting identities within.
So, “celebration” means that because we’re a community on campus and because we’re students first and foremost — or staff for some of us. We also have the identities that need to be celebrated, need to be recognized as joyful, need to be recognized as passionate and hopeful, right? And so “celebration” to us means getting an opportunity to really put our voices out there; getting an opportunity to showcase our cultures, our experiences; and tell our stories from our own perspectives. And so, we definitely need to celebrate each other, celebrate ourselves, and celebrate our diversity on our campus as a community.
Pamela Bishop: That’s awesome. And, you know, you also brought about something that I wanted to emphasize, the whole notion of the “x.” Here on the university campus, our Reframing the Conversation is speaking to what you just said “Decoding the X.” So what does that “x” mean?
Please be sure to join us for that event and for all the other events across the university and the community. To find more about the activities that are happening on campus, please visit our website, diversity.utah.edu to see what activities are occurring as well as to add any activities that you have that are happening here at the university.
So thank you, Morgan and Xris, we really appreciate this time, and we look forward to celebrating Latinx heritage throughout this entire month. Thanks.