Five things Friday roundup: Honoring Hispanic Heritage Month

From unsplash. From unsplash.

1. Hispanic Heritage Month

Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 is Hispanic Heritage Month. From my experience, this is usually celebrated the entire month of September. Like other months given a racial or ethnic celebration label, corporations choose to capitalize on this. There are sweatshirts, T-shirts, mugs, posters, etc. available at chain retailers. While I shake my fist at capitalism, last year I did buy a sweatshirt from Target that said, “Hola.” There are many more ways to celebrate the Hispanic community than by buying a mug depicting Dia de los Muertos. Put your dollars towards Hispanic businesses, places that promote diversity in the workplace or toward a learning tours for yourself that include a destination where you’re immersed in Latino culture.

2. Twice as Good

Twice as Good: Leadership and Power for Women of Color is a book by Mary Wardell, an African American leader and author. Her work can be applied to all women from minoritized communities who are in roles of leadership. I learned that many Black women have been told they need to be “twice as good” as their white counterparts, which was also the message I heard growing up as Latina. The book covers imposter syndrome, the intersection of misogyny, racism and white supremacy, as well as an explanation of what makes a good, trustworthy ally. A further description of the book can be found here.

3. Espiritu de Dios Llena Mi Vida

One of my favorite praise songs in Spanish is “Espiritu de Dios Llena Mi Vida.” This translates as “Spirit of God, Fill My life.” I haven’t been to a Hispanic congregation that hasn’t sung this at least once every couple of weeks. If you are unfamiliar with Spanish, translations can be easily be found online. This can easily be done in a number of contexts, as the chords (for piano or guitar) are relatively simple. The song is on YouTube and the chords can be found here.

4. The Power of Latino Leadership

Dr. Juana Bordas is a Nicaraguan leader and author. In The Power of Latino Leadership, she outlines 10 principles of Latino leadership that can be applied to leaders of all backgrounds. She uses very appropriate examples of excellent Latino leadership, such as the work of Delores Huerta and Julian Castro. What I appreciated about the book was her highlighting Hispanic leaders I hadn’t heard about before. This is a read that, while helpful for Hispanic people, may be more a book for white folks. Another limitation of the book is her being from the Silent Generation that may not translate to younger folks. Regardless, this is an important read. A further description of the book can be found here.

5. Pumpkin Spice Month

I cannot write this and not mention that Pumpkin Spice season is among us. As I’ve said before, this is often seen as a “basic white woman” flavor and aesthetic. However, I’ve met several Latinas who have said, “Isn’t pumpkin for everyone?”  You don’t have to be a woman who wears UGG boots and lululemon leggings to ask for the PSL (pumpkin spice latte) at your local coffee shop. Pumpkin transcends culture. And labeling something as a “basic woman” thing is a patriarchal way to dismiss what brings some people joy in a world that is literally on fire. I encourage all to be unashamed of embracing the season if it’s something you like. Bake pumpkin rolls, get that latte, buy that candle and tell the haters to try some pumpkin bread before they dismiss the entire season.

Joanne Gallardo

Joanne Gallardo is conference minister of Indiana-Michigan Mennonite Conference of Mennonite Church USA in Goshen, Indiana. Originally from northwest Ohio, Joanne Read More

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