Celebrate Hispanic & Latinx Heritage Month 2021
Saludos mis amigos,
Hispanic Heritage Month is observed from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 each year, and celebrates the culture and contributions of Hispanic & Latinx Americans in our country, as well as the independence of eight Spanish-speaking countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Mexico, Chile and Belize.
As this joyous celebration begins, I find myself in a state of pride, reflection, and pondering the words that are used to describe me—Hispanic, Chicana, Latina, immigrant, American, teacher, educator, mother, grandmother, daughter.
Some of my most treasured memories are of my time as a Chicano and Latino Studies instructor in higher education. The topic of how we define ourselves in this country is thought-provoking, leading so many of us on a personal exploration in search of answers. It is a journey I am still on.
In my continued journey of learning, I have come to discover the words Hispanic and Latinx are often used interchangeably. And while it’s now the trend to use umbrella terms like these to categorize those with ties to more than 20 Latin American countries, these words haven’t always nurtured a sense of community among the people they’re supposed to describe.
Our Hispanic and Latinx student populations are growing at our university. In 2020, our enrollment was 15% at the undergraduate level and 6% at the graduate/professional level. With this growth comes an opportunity to learn from each other and a reminder that our students bring their own unique Latinx, Hispanic or Chicanos identities with them into the classroom every day.
I want to express my appreciation for Pacific’s Association of Latinx and Ally Students (ALAS) and the Student Multicultural Center (SMC) who will be hosting many of Pacific's exciting events in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month.
This year, let us remember to celebrate the diversity and achievements of the Hispanic and Latinx communities, and let us also find ways to increase awareness of how to promote social justice and support for all our communities.
Narce Rodriguez | Vice President of Student Affairs & Chief Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Officer