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It’s Latinx/Hispanic Heritage Month at Central City Concern, a time to celebrate our Latinx clients and staff and appreciate the depth of history of this community. This national observance started in 1968 with an annual proclamation of National Hispanic Heritage week. 20 years later, it was expanded to a month-long celebration. Latinx/Hispanic Heritage Month begins September 15 and ends October 15. The timing is key because the Independence days of Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, Costa Rica and Mexico fall between these dates. This year, the national theme of Latinx Heritage Month is “The Power of Our Vote.”
Celebrations have been canceled due to COVID-19, but we still would like to acknowledge this time and the importance of this year’s Latinx/Hispanic Heritage Month. This celebration comes during a presidential election where Latinx people will make up the largest racial and ethnic minority voting bloc. Pew Research states that Latinx people represent over 13% of eligible voters. While we know the coronavirus has disproportionately impacted our local Latinx community, we also know there are additional issues this community faces.
September is also National Recovery Month, so we’d also like to shine a light on our Puentes program that serves Spanish-speaking populations in the Portland metro area. Since 2005, Puentes has welcomed Spanish-speakers into a culturally responsive community where things like language, country of origin and documentation status are not barriers to a life in recovery. Puentes is one of the few programs of its kind in the Portland area and a pillar within the Latinx recovery community.
In the spirit of celebrating Latinx/Hispanic Heritage Month while also educating ourselves, we’d like to share a list of eight must-see documentaries that PBS and OPB have put together to help gain a better understanding of Latinx culture in the United States. These films take a deep dive into the many ways Latinx communities have influenced American culture, politics and economics. We encourage you to take your time and engage with the rich histories of our Latinx communities through these documentaries.