By Brianna Gomez
In the midst of Hispanic Heritage Month, Hispanics and non-Hispanics are often faced with the question of what Hispanic Heritage Month means to them.
Riverside City College Chicano Studies instructor Steven Moreno-Terril gave an educational view on Hispanic Heritage Month and went into depth about what it means to be Hispanic and Latino in the United States.
Though Hispanics and Latinos all come from different regions, their heritage all comes together as one here in the United States, where they helped in building the nation.
“You can’t tell the story of the United States without including the history of Latinx communities throughout our country as well as the Americas as a whole,” Moreno-Terril said.
While the United States was built off the labor of a combination of different people and cultures, the Hispanic and Latino community often experience a disconnect from their roots.
“As you go on through generations in a country, there can be a thinning of the close connection to your heritage culture,” Moreno-Terril said.
With all that being said, Hispanics and Latinos are all a mixture of different cultures as opposed to just being one; this is what makes Hispanic Heritage Month such an important time here in the United States.
As much as it is a time of celebration and appreciation, it also can be a time to bring awareness and advocate for Hispanic and Latino cultures. One important issue during this time is the way Hispanic Heritage month is presented to other cultures.
“Hispanic or Latinx Heritage Month can be like a commodification where it is commercialized… the other aspect is where this month just focuses on the heroes,” Moreno-Terril said. “And this is not to dismiss or denigrate their accomplishments, but if that’s all that’s done and there’s no discussion of the struggles of Latinx communities throughout the history of the United States, it gets pushed aside.”
There are many ways to get involved in advocating during Hispanic Heritage month, even for non-Hispanics and Latinos.
“There are plenty of different resources of different organizations and even social media accounts to follow such as The Daily Chela and Smithsonian Latino Center, there’s so many… there’s also books and podcasts,” Moreno-Terril said.
What Hispanic Heritage Month means differs from person to person and though each meaning may be different they are all equally important.
“In my role as a professor and as a historian, I get excited… it’s a good opportunity to share information with folks and to say, hey let’s make this month count in ways that are really critical and meaningful and are not just surface level or watered down,” he said. “Learn a little bit about the history but also make sure you’re learning about the struggles.”