Arts, Culture, and Activism: Celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month

This National Hispanic Heritage Month, the Foghorn is celebrating Latine voices and Latine contributions to our country as well as our campus. Founded in 1968, President Lyndon B. Johnson created Hispanic Heritage week to celebrate the Latine population integral to the United State’s multicultural fabric. In 1988, President Ronald Reagan extended Hispanic Heritage week to encompass a full 31 days — the timeline of Sept. 15 through Oct. 15 aligning with multiple Latin American independence days.

Though tensions persist over the title of Hispanic Heritage Month, and whether it should be changed to Latine or Latinx Heritage month, the debate itself reminds us that Latine people are not a monolith. As of 2020, the census reported that Latine folks are the largest minority in the U.S. and the USF student body is composed of nearly a quarter Latine students. From within these populations, ‘Latine’ is tied to the 33 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean; this means a multitude of distinct cultures, cuisines and countless contributions to our nation and campus. 

Living in community with Latine folks has enriched our lives. We have memories of youth center friends’ quinceaneras and after-school trips to snack at local taquerias. We have blasted the music of Shakira and Bad Bunny and geeked out over Lin Manuel Miranda’s, “In The Heights” and “Hamilton.” Beyond the beauty of these moments, we understand that appreciation for Latine culture must extend beyond the arts, and perreo (or party) culture, and to the stories of struggle that have won human rights for all Americans. 

As highlighted by NPR, the types of stories we tell and remember in Hispanic Heritage Month matter. To NPR journalist Vanessa Romo, Chicanx professor at University of California Santa Barbara Mario T.Garcia said: “Too often the focus is on the musical contributions or dancing or other happy art forms — we also need programming that reflects historical problems.” On a national level, Latine activists like the Puerto Rican Young Lords have helped secure equality, taking inspiration from the Black Panther Party to create neighborhood communities of mutual aid. In California, the 1968 East L.A. Walkout, organized by Chicanx students, raised national attention to inequality in education. The United Farm Workers Movement — led by Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta — won farmworkers the right to organize in California. 

To honor Latine culture and contributions, we have highlighted a few exciting events happening this month in celebration and remembrance of Hispanic Heritage Month. And, to close out the month, the Foghorn will publish an issue dedicated to Hispanic Heritage Month — covering the events we attended, field trips to the Mission Cultural District as well as our own campus events put on by USF Latina Unidas and L.U.N.A campus clubs. Beyond this month, we commit to amplifying Latine issues and stories through intentional outreach and coverage. 

Latinx Heritage Celebration hosted by USF’s Latinas Unidas and L.U.N.A.: 

Saturday, Sept. 24, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. McLaren Building

“Join us in celebration of our culture with speakers, performances and music!” Free admission.

Medicine for Nightmares hosts “Bridge Over Trouble; New Works”

Open everyday until Sept. 28, 12 to 8PM at 3036 24th Street, San Francisco

“A Solo Show by. Josue Rojas—Bridge over Trouble : New Works! is a celebration, a rhapsody of visual experience in which the artist uses recognizable imagery; cartoons, comics, sports logos, –– and breaks their traditional settings, remixing them alongside Central American folkloric patterns graffiti.”

The ‘80s Matter in the Mission -Hosted by Accion Latina:

Oct. 6, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. at SFMOMA’s Koret Education Center, 151 3rd street

Accion latina pays tribute to the Latinx organizers and artists that responded to the AIDS epidemic and the migration of Central American refugees to San Francisco.

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