Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month

“I was raised in what I consider to be not a melting pot, but a salad bowl. The onion stayed the onion, the tomato stayed the tomato, the lettuce stayed the lettuce,… No one lost their identity and I thought that’s what life was like.”

Edward James Olmos

First celebrated in 1968, Hispanic Heritage Month now spans from September 15th – October 15th as a way to honor the history, culture and contributions of our American Citizens and their ancestors that came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, Central and South America. This began as a week-long celebration under President Lyndon Johnson, and was expanded by President Reagan to be a month-long celebration.  September 15th kicks off National Hispanic Heritage Month for good reason – it celebrates the anniversary of independence for Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua.  Not only is this month a way to celebrate the important contributions of Hispanic and Latin culture, adoptive parents have an incredible opportunity to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month within their family and bring their adoptees’ culture into their own home.

If you’re an adoptive parent, especially parenting a transracial adoptee, or if you’re a prospective adoptive parent, you have (hopefully) most likely heard the term “racial mirror”…a person whose identity matches yours, and can reflect your own experiences back to you. Racial mirrors are crucial in parenting transracial adoptees and should be present in your everyday lives – even if it’s just in the books you read or shows you watch in your home. 

Racial mirrors can help a child feel seen and validated, and also help them to imagine a place for themselves in their community and the world at large.

Katie Lear

While providing racial mirrors while parenting an adoptee that is transracial is a lifelong responsibility, Hispanic and Latin American Heritage Month offers a month-long celebration of bringing racial mirrors into your home, and celebrates your child’s culture and ethnicity… and we came up with several ways to help!

Go to your local library and check out books about Hispanic culture, or books that have Hispanic characters.

Here are some of our favorite recommendations:

  1. All the Colors We Are by Katie Kissinger
  2. Mango, Abuela, and Me
  3. Alma
  4. What Can You Do with a Paleta?
  5. Coquí in the City by Nomar Perez
  6. A Mother for Choco
  7. La Catrina: Emotions – Emociones

Find a Hispanic festival or celebration in your area.

Check out your local events, especially if you’re in a bigger city! So many local communities host annual festivals during this month, making them a great opportunity to immerse yourself in Hispanic culture, celebrate with your family – and get some great food!  If you can’t find a local event, here are some other great ways to celebrate at home!

Cook a traditional meal.

Nothing brings a family together more than cooking together! Use this month to really learn about Hispanic food, the history behind it, and what makes the food so special!  Who knows, maybe this will be a new regular event in your home!  Here is a list of great kid friendly activities in the kitchen!

Have a family movie night.

Last year, Encanto took the big screen by storm not only for its stunning Imagineering, and enchanting soundtrack, but most importantly for bringing Hispanc and Latin representation to Disney.  Not only did Encanto offer Hispanic representation through its characters’ appearances, but also the thoughtful and accurate representation of Colombian culture.  If you missed Encanto, now is an incredible time to watch it with intention and absorb everything Encanto has to offer.  Also on our list of must watch movies this month is Coco, another Disney Pixar hit with an incredible soundtrack and glimpse into Hispanic culture.

However you choose to celebrate your child’s ethnicity and bring their culture into your home – just make sure that you do! Everyone benefits from better representation and where better to start, than at home.

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