Commemorating Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month: A Focus on Immigration, Tenacity and Ethnic/Racial Identities
University Diversity & Inclusion Officer Eloisa Gordon-Mora, Ph.D. discusses the importance of Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month and related events happening over the next month
Today, September 15th, we begin the monthly celebration of Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month, a critically important recognition of the longstanding, but always evolving, rich and complex presence of Hispanic/Latinx groups in our nation. Hispanics/Latinx, who can be of different racial groups, as race and ethnicity, even though often conflated, refer to separate demographic categories, represent the largest minority of the United States—18.7% of the total population. In Nevada, not only are Latinx groups also the principal, ethnic or racial, minority, but exceed considerably in numbers the national average, or 29.2% of the total state population.
Our recent American history has required of all of us to come to terms with a more truthful retelling of our nation’s history—a story that needs to be more honest and factual on such realities as colonialism, genocide, slavery, nativism, racial and ethnic segregation, the Border, and more. For these reasons, we want to give a particular focus to the history of Latinx immigration to the United States, a history that varies and evolves across time, that has involved multiple and distinctive national groups, as well as, separate experiences of United States government’s geo-political interventions. For these reasons, also, we use the term Latinx, in addition to the official Hispanic, because we understand the term Hispanic is a contested and historically charged one.
Yet, regarding the overall history of US immigrant groups, recent and past, we recognize similar, shared experiences of all immigrant groups: determination and strength in the face of hardships and isolation—and whether Irish Catholic, Southern European, Basque, Eastern European, Asian, Jew, Muslim, or Caribbean/Central/Latin American. We focus on those histories to celebrate the tenacity and vigor of those immigrant groups, as well as to stand in solidarity with other first nations, communities of color and minoritized/marginalized groups— Native American, African American, Asian American, Pacific Islander, Undocumented, Disabled, LGBTQ+, and other—to whom we also owe the forging ahead of the American, extraordinary, imperfect but always developing, multi-cultural experience. In terms of our United States-Latinx shared culture, the vital contributions of multiple generations of Latinx in literature, the arts, popular culture, music, dance, cuisine, media, sports are more than obvious.
We invite you to join, today, the two opening, Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month activities:
- Tu Bienvenida: Ceremony to welcome new Latinx faculty, staff and students, at the JCSU Gateway Plaza, 4:30 pm; and,
- En medio/In-Between: Conversation with Dr. Sayak Valencia and Xandra Ibarra at The Lilley Art Museum and streaming, 6:00 pm.
Also, please mark your calendars for two other upcoming activities:
- “What is Latinx Identity? A focus on Immigration, a conversation with UNR faculty and staff members, Mayra Sierra-Ruiz and Drs. Lorraine Benuto, Sandra Rodríguez, Karla Hernández, and Prisca Gayles, on September 22nd at 3:30 pm, and
- The Battle to Stay in America, a conversation with Michael Kagan, Esq. Director of UNLV Immigration Clinic (date in October TBA).
All of these activities are either co-sponsored or sponsored by our office of Diversity & Inclusion—the latter two, part of the Dialogue, Equity and Democracy Series, an ongoing succession of panel discussions, guest speakers, workshops and teach-ins. You can find most of these events in the UNR Events Calendar, UNR Hispanic Heritage Events Calendar.
Please join us!