Austin Support Black Live Matter in Austin

Listicle on How to support Black Lives Matter

By: Alexa Smith

400 + 1 Bail Fund

This specific fund was created to help one man but is now being expanded to support those arrested at protests. You can also follow them on

Instagram @400and1 to stay updated on their work. 

Mutual Aid ATX

This organization is run by marginalized students at UT and collects funds to provide collective care. You can also follow them on

Instagram @mutualaidatx for more information on how to support them and donate. 

Austin Justice Coalition

“The Austin Justice Coalition is a Racial Justice Group that educates and builds community power for people of color who live in Austin, Texas that need support, community, and liberation during a time of systemic injustice in America.” -AJC website

They are accepting donations to support their mission and they also currently have a petition going to tell Austin City Council to defund the police. Sign here. 

You can follow them on social media to find educational material and stay updated on their work. 

Instagram: @austinjusticecoalition

Twitter: @atxjustice

Allgo

Allgo is a statewide queer people of color organization that supports those communities, “through cultural arts, wellness, and social justice programming”. 

Instagram: @allgoqpoc

Twitter: @allgoqpoc

Six Square

Six Square is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that celebrates and preserves the great arts, culture and history of Central East Austin.

You can donate to support their organization and follow on socials to stay updated.

Instagram: @sixsquareatx

Twitter: @sixsquareatx 

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The LGBTQIA2+ Community: Our Pronouns, When and How To Use Them

The primary reason why the LGBTQIA2+ communtiy and pronouns matter is because it creates a positive impact on mental health, emotional well-being and quality of life for those a part or allied with the group.

By: Grant E. Loveless

What Does LGBTQIA2+ Mean & Its Importance?

The LGBTQIA2+ community, also known as the Rainbow community, are people who are allied with the LGBTQIA2+ movement or identify as an lesbian, gay, transgender, etc. People from the LGBTQIA2+ community come in from all walks of life and include people of all races and ethnicities, all ages, all socioeconomic statuses, and from all parts of the country. To break it down some more, LGBTQIA2+ is an abbreviation that stands for: lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (or sometimes questioning), intersexual, asexual and two-spirited. The plus-sign signifies a number of other identities, and is included to keep the abbreviation brief when written out; the full abbreviation is LGBTTTQQIAA. The primary reason why the LGBTQIA2+ communtiy and pronouns matter is because it creates a positive impact on mental health, emotional well-being and quality of life for those a part or allied with the group. 

LGBTQIA2+ Pronouns: When & How To Use Them

Every day we use pronouns in our speech and writing to address certain individuals or groups. With the use of pronouns, we all can agree that we use them unconsciously and sometimes aren’t mindful of others’ comfort or identities when doing so. Too often, when speaking of someone in the third person, these pronouns have a gender implied. These associations are not always accurate or helpful. Note to self, mistaking or assuming peoples’ pronouns without asking first, misrepresents them, their identity and sends a damaging message. Using someone’s correct gender pronouns is one of the most basic ways to show your respect for their identity and show support to the LGBTQIA2+ community.

Now-a-days people aren’t necessarily identifying with the sex they were given at birth. Examples of this are how people who identify as transgender (meaning they identify as a different gender than the sex they were assigned) or those who identify as non-binary (meaning they don’t identify as exclusively male nor exclusively female). While most of us try our best to respect these gender non-conforming individuals, sometimes language—and a simple lack of information—can make that complicated and lead to a lot of confusion, anxiety or create animosity in some spaces.

That said, it’s imperative to take a mental note when someone tells you which pronouns they prefer. In this regard LGBTQIA2+ people have said themselves that when someone says their pronouns are ‘too difficult’ for them to remember, what they hear is that you don’t value your friendship, the work that their doing in the world, or me them a person.

While cisgendered people tend to use the pronouns we’re all familiar with to describe themselves—he/him and she/her—some non-binary individuals choose different pronouns that you may not have heard of before.

What Are Gender Pronouns?

A gender pronoun is “the pronoun that a person chooses to use for themselves” to describe their gender. What this means is that, even if a person was born with male genitalia, they may still choose to use feminine pronouns to describe themselves, depending on what suits their gender expression. To bounce off of the example earlier, some transgender people change their pronouns to help identify more closely with the gender they are inside.

Also, more and more people have begun adopting gender-neutral pronouns—those that neither connote male nor female gender. These people feel as though the typical male and female pronouns do not accurately represent their gender identities and expressions. Those who identify as non-binary or gender non-conforming opt to use gender-neutral pronouns like “ze/zir/zirself” and “ve/ver/verself.”

Though it can be confusing, some non-binary people choose the pronouns “they” and “them” in place of “he/him” or “she/her,” since there is no gender associated with “they/them.” To view pronouns and some examples, view the chart created by BestLife Magazine below:

How Do You Use Gender Pronouns?

As said before, it is ALWAYS important to be mindful and ask someone which pronouns they use to identify themselves. You can’t—and shouldn’t—judge a book by its cover. Simply asking, “What are your gender pronouns?” can be one of the easiest ways to show support for the LGBTQIA2+ community, as it signals to them that you both care about and respect them. We all should be able to use pronouns that accurately describe our gender identity and expression.

So, for those of you who want to be allies to the LGBTQIA+ community, start familiarizing yourself with the pronouns of friends, family members, and strangers. The small act of using a person’s proper pronoun can make all the difference in their day. To learn more about pronouns or even on how to get familiar with LGBTQIA2+ community visit ACC’s LGBT eQuity website and see how we, Riverbats, take pride in our students, faculty and staff.

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Alumni Highlight

Austin Community College produces some of the hardest-working, talented alumni in the world. ACCENT met with ACC alumni, Antonio Cueto, to learn more about their experience with the college.

By: Pete Ramirez

Meet Antonio Cueto

Cueto graduated with their degree in Psychology and Journalism in May 2020. They now work as a freelance journalist for NPR affiliates. Cueto has melded what they learned at ACC, such as photojournalism, into multidisciplinary art for galleries in Texas and in a new Austin-based streetwear brand named Civil Unrest

Watch our Q&A segment with Cueto

The ACC Experience From An Alumni Perspective


Q: What is your experience with ACC?

A: I went to ACC a semester after graduating high school. I had started to go to UTSA but it wasn’t working out.

I went to ACC because it was the best vehicle to explore different career paths and it was good school to feel comfortable in a smaller classroom setting.” 

“At the same time, it’s a really good vehicle to explore different interests and get support from professors and all the resources ACC provides.

My experience with ACC was fruitful. I started out as a psychology major but during my last semester I took a journalism class with Professor Paul Brown and it honestly changed me.

I took News Reporting I and the first assignment was to go to an event and write an article about it. Being in the field, interviewing different people, and structuring a story by what you get, felt like a rush and a calling.

I fell in love with it.

Q: Did ACC meet your expectations?

A: Yeah, definitely. I went to ACC because I knew it was the best option to learn about myself and in the end, I really found out what “my purpose” was.

Q: What was the best part about your time at ACC?

A: I think making all those connections that led me to bigger things. Especially working with Professor Paul Brown in general. He changed my life.

He’s a very passionate professor and he has so much experience. The way that he teaches about his profession is so contagious. It really makes you fall in love with journalism.

I started the ACC Star with him, which is the newspaper for the journalism department. I was the founding editor and that was super cool.

I think those are the best parts of ACC because it put me on a path toward the career that I wanted,.

Q: Were you involved with any other student organizations during your time at ACC?

A: Yeah, I was the Hispanic student senator for a year with student government. I was also the campus vice president for Riverside in Phi Theta Kappa for a semester and a member throughout my time at ACC.

Both organizations are pretty influential at ACC. Especially student government. Student government exists at ACC but not a lot of students know about it so it was interesting to be in an organization that has some power. I think it’s the most power that students can hold at ACC to change things and make policy.

Phi Theta Kappa was great too. They also helped me a lot with becoming a more responsible, motivated student.

They emphasize leadership a lot and that really gave me a lot of experience for leadership roles and confidence that I need in journalism.

Q: What would you say to someone who might be unsure about attending ACC?

A: If they have a clear path toward what they want to do, then go for it. ACC is great for students that aren’t sure of what they want to do.

It really opens up so many opportunities and helps you find whatever you’re missing to make that leap forward in your life or career.

Q: How has ACC changed your life?

A: It made me realize that life isn’t so linear. There is no structure or handbook that tells you, “this is what you’re supposed to do”. 

ACC taught me that life isn’t like that at all. Sometimes you’re in classes with people who are way into their careers and want to switch things up.

You don’t have to commit to one interest only, you can intertwine interests. You make up your own handbook.

Empowering Black Communities Beyond One Month

ACC will be celebrating Black History Month and the importance of what it means to the College and Austin.

By: Kimberly Dalbert

“When you control a man’s thinking you do not have to worry about his actions.”

Carter G. Woodson, the Father of Black History

African American or Black, do you worry which one is correct? Do you speak up or stay silent when talking about racial injustice and inequality with another race? If so, you’re not alone. With so much racial injustice and inequality, it can feel like a very uncomfortable subject.
Austin Community College will be celebrating Black History Month and the importance of what it means to the ACC and Austin community.

ACCENT met with Dr. Khayree Williams, Director at Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation Center (TRHT), and Jason Brown, Manager at Black Representation of Achievement Through Student Support (BRASS), to discuss Black History Month, events, places to reach out for help or questions, and what Black History Month means to them.

View Our Segment on What Black History Month means to the ACC Community


Q. When thinking of Black History Month what is the first thing that comes to mind? 

“Pride, proud to be a black man every day, proud of ancestors’ accomplishments,” Brown said.

Q. Do you feel we need to change the narrative of Black History Month this year focusing more on people like Carter G. Woodson and his creation of Negro History week in 1926, and its origin to help understand inequality today instead of commonly known figures like Dr. Martin Luther King jr., Rosa parks and Harriet Tubman?

“We shouldn’t change the narrative or downplay sacrifices of our civil rights heroes. Black History should be more year-round not just the shortest month of the year,” Brown said. 

Williams shared a mutual feeling with Brown’s statement that Black History should be discussed all the time and not just during Black History Month. 


Q. How do you feel about discussions of psychological distress and mental health being addressed during Black History Month?

“I love that we as people discuss mental health openly. Growing up mental health seemed tabooer, especially in my family, along with a lot of other black households. Acknowledging and discussing mental health helps us heal as a whole,” Brown said. 

Williams admits that it is something that has for far too long not wanted to be addressed in the black community. 

“Speak up and be honest when we are struggling, this is something that should be discussed all the time not just during Black History Month,” Williams said.

Q. What would you say to ACC students experiencing uncertainty about how they feel regarding recent events of racial injustice and inequality, and also might be afraid to talk about it.

“You should have support in safe places, allies, and clinical counselors,” Brown stresses. 

“All of us are afraid because it is not an easy conversation to have. We do not want to say the wrong thing or come off as awkward, or offend someone, so it is easy to shy away. That is what TRHT is there for, ACC campuses and the community,” Williams said.


Q. Black History Month was created to honor the accomplishments of Black Americans. Do you think too much time is spent on the struggle and not the accomplishments?

“It has to be a balanced conversation, if you do not understand the progress you have made, then you will make some of those same mistakes again,” Williams said. 


Q. What does it mean to have a diverse environment, and do you think Austin Community College has this?

“Diverse people have their own characteristics and they are unique from each other. Austin Community College is a champion at diversity and makes sure everyone has a seat at the table,” Brown said. 

“Diversity is not just on paper and in numbers, it goes beyond that regardless of make-up everyone has an equal say, and wants everyone to feel cared for and loved in the Austin Community College community,” Williams said. 

To learn more about BRASS or TRHT visit the sources below: 

BRASS 

Black Representation of Achievement Through Student Support (BRASS) is a community dedicated to support interests and needs of Black students through higher education. BRASS strives to “produce a pipeline of successful future professionals who are Black representations of achievement prepared to be the next generation of corporate and community leaders.”

TRHT

The Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation Campus Center (TRHT) at ACC is a partnership with our community to build cross-racial relationships that lead to racial healing and an exploration of ways to transform the college and community for greater inclusion and equity.

Dr.Khayree Williams "Diversity is not just on paper and in numbers, it goes beyond that regardless of make-up everyone has an equal say, and wants everyone to feel cared for and loved in the Austin Community College community."

Leadership Conference Aims to Build Students’ Confidence

Austin Community College Student Life is kicking off 2021 with the first annual Student Leadership Conference! This web-based convention allows ACC students to attend panels, meet with guest speakers, and network with their fellow peers. ACCENT met with organizers of this event, students, and guest speakers to get the scoop.

By: Adam Cherian

Austin Community College is kicking off 2021 with the first annual Student Leadership Conference! This web-based convention allows ACC students to attend panels, meet with guest speakers, and network with their fellow peers. 

Starting on Feb 4, this virtual two-day event will encompass central themes of confidence, resilience, and civic engagement. Students will have the opportunity to build such skills by listening to guest speakers such as local Austin icon, Evenlyn from the Internets.

Each day is divided into different time slots, where panels and networking will take place. The organizers realize that building networks of people during the Covid-19 pandemic is not easy, so the conference organizers have dedicated a whole hour each day for the sole purpose of meeting with other students. 

ACCENT had the opportunity to speak with ACC students, Ashley Pesina and Todd Snow, about why they were attending this conference, as well as what they are expecting to gain from attending.

“I want to strengthen my leadership skills. I am the new president of the new student organization LatinX Student Union. It will definitely help me in this new opportunity to be a better leader,” Pesina said. 

Snow, who is now the current president of the Student Veterans Association of ACC, is attending for similar reasons.

 “Even if a person will never be in a leadership role, the skills a good leader needs are skills everyone should have.” Snow said. 

Many students, like Ashely and Todd, are looking for better ways to increase their leadership skills, especially while we are in a pandemic and are unable to meet in person. 

“…we have been virtual for a year almost so I am used to participating in events online,” Pesina said. 

Snow disclosed with us that he would not  have been able to go if it were an in person event, which raises the question of accessibility. Having virtual events for the past ten months have created a space where everyone can safely participate in large events.

For instance, there are over 130+ students planning to attend this conference. 

“I would recommend an ACC student to attend this conference because it will help them gain leadership skills and network with different people,” Pesina said. 

Janelle Greene and Darrell Merriweather, guest speakers for the Resilience: Reaching In, Reaching Out, Reaching Around panel set to occur at 10 a.m. on Feb 5 will discuss how people can remain resilient in these times, while also maintaining civic participation in our communities. 

With the panel’s intention to educate the attendees of the panel on the ways to remain resilient in the face of hardship, they also strive to connect with students in different ways, especially during the pandemic.

“We wanted to bring about different strategies…finding support groups…being able to bounce back and persevere through these times,” Merriweather said. 

Kelsey Sisler and Jamal Nelson, organizers for the event, stated that though the theme of this year’s conference is confidence building, Nelson explained that this conference is more than just that but that civic engagement and acquiring leadership skills are also the focus. As well as trying to build leadership qualities after traumatic experiences. 

When we asked Sisler about what she was specifically doing to plan for the event, she emphasized that diversity was extremely important. Both planners made diversity a huge priority, which is seen in the panelists they are having.

 Both organizers exclaimed to us how much easier it is to plan this event online. Though they both experienced “Zoom fatigue” while planning, the accessibility of having it online is worth the fatigue.

 “The take away from the conference should be the information gathered, and the larger network built,” Nelson said. 

The Student Leadership conference of 2021 is one of the largest virtual conferences held by ACC Student Life that allows students to get connected with your peers, as well as get informative talks from highly experienced individuals. 

Visit the Student Life website to learn more about the schedule of events and registration. 

How to Be Sustainable Through the Holiday Season

This is a large amount of trash that is being produced during a small period of time and that can be easily avoided if more sustainable choices are made.

By: Angela Murillo-Martinez

close up of Christmas tree with ornaments and lights

The holiday season is finally here! It’s time to bring out the gingerbread cookies, play Mariah Carey on repeat, and watch Home Alone every day until Christmas. Although the holidays are going to be a little different this year it won’t ruin the holiday spirit that we all love so much and look forward to each year. That being said, it’s important that through this season, we keep in mind the harms that our habits can have on the environment. 

The holiday season is the perfect time to spend with friends and family, however, a lot of waste may be caused because of it. The United States alone produces 25 million tons of garbage Thanksgiving all the way through New Year’s, according to Stanford University.

This is a large amount of trash that is being produced during a small period of time and that can be easily avoided if more sustainable choices are made. From changing the way we wrap our gifts or changing the kinds of lights we use to decorate our house. Every change, big or small has an impact towards our community and our planet. Here are some ways you can continue to have a fun Christmas while being sustainable. 

close up of a tree wrapped in LED lights next to two light up reindeer

Decorate with LED Lights

Not only are they more environmentally friendly, but they also last longer than incandescent bulbs. This saves you time and money by not having to be changing light bulbs every time one stops working. 

LED lights also use much less energy than incandescent bulbs. So not only will your house look great with all the colorful LED lights you put on, it will be using much less energy than the regular bulbs you use. Since they generate light without producing too much heat, they also help reduce the risk of burning yourself with the bulb. 

Using LED lights leads to a more sustainable and economical choice to decorate your home this year that will not only have the planet thanking you but also your wallet. 

local magazine shops

Shop Local and Small

Buying your gifts at local shops helps reduce the amount of packaging that is used to package and ship online orders. Although ordering online can seem more convenient and fast, especially during these times. It can be harming the environment much more than we realize. 

Many times, the package that you ordered online, will have to travel many miles to get to you. Which produces more CO2 emissions and harms our environment even more. 

When you buy local and support small businesses, you are supporting those who live in the same community as you. Instead of investing in big businesses such as Amazon, you are investing in your community. 

Many of these small businesses are what make our community so unique and fun, and without them, it wouldn’t be the same. So not only would you be reducing the amount of CO2 emissions and packaging waste, you would be supporting your neighbors, by shopping at their small, local businesses. 

layered reusable bags

Get Creative with Wrapping Gifts

Many of us look forward to unwrapping gifts each year, but we don’t realize how much waste we are producing by doing this. Using conventional wrapping paper often leads to all of it being thrown away and is left unrecyclable. Especially if they have glitter on them or are made of foil. Each year, Americans throw away tons of wrapping paper and only create more harmful waste. But look no further to find ways that opening gifts can still be exciting yet sustainable. 

As we move towards a more sustainable future, many online shops are beginning to sell eco-friendly paper that is not only recyclable but biodegradable. Many of them offer many different kinds of decorated wrapping paper that will continue to support your holiday spirit and will also create a cleaner community. You can also get creative and recycle old maps and newspapers to wrap your gifts. This makes your gifts look truly unique, but it will be giving another purpose to that newspaper you were going to throw away. You can also use one of the many tote bags you may have. Not only will there be a nice gift inside the bag, but they will be able to reuse the bag for their own use. 

It’s changes like this, that can truly make a positive impact in the long run. As much fun as the holiday season can be, one should always be conscious of what the impact of their decisions and habits are. Even though this year, holidays will look a little different and we’re going to be physically apart from each other, we are still able to continue our traditions while making sustainable decisions. 

Indigenous Peoples Day: Importance of Heritage & Pride

The second Monday of October has been identified as Columbus Day since the year 1937; however, since 1977, many individuals have begun to call this day Indigenous Peoples’ Day to celebrate the lives and culture of Native Americans.

By: Grant E. Loveless

The second Monday of October has been identified as Columbus Day since the year 1937; however, since 1977, many individuals have begun to call this day Indigenous Peoples’ Day to celebrate the lives and culture of Native Americans. 

This day is centered on both celebration and reflection: celebrating people and their heritage, culture and tribal roots as well as reflecting on tragic stories in history that hurt, but in a way strengthened the Indigenous community. 

 Indigenous Peoples Day is a “holiday celebrating the original inhabitants of North America, observed instead of Columbus Day in some U.S localities,” according to the Associated Press Stylebook, with the goal to unify others as well as bring awareness to issues plaguing their communities. With this goal comes hardship as many still want to celebrate Christopher Columbus, a glorified figure who in reality scarred Indigenous people of America for centuries to come. 

Too often do many forget that Indigenous people were ravaged by diseases brought over from Europe, forced from their tribal land as the United States expanded and, even more recently, sterilized in large numbers.

 For the Native community, Columbus Day has long been hurtful. It negatively affects and hurts those who are Indigenous and glorifies the violent history of 500 years of colonial oppression at the hands of European explorers and those who settled in the United States — history in which many Native and Indigenous folx say still has ramifications and wounds that run deep today. 

Many states have taken initiative to celebrate the second Monday of October while also celebrating the culture and lives of Indigenous people by renaming the holiday. The movement to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day or Native American Day has gained momentum and spread to states, cities and towns across the United States. 

Indigenous Peoples Day recognizes, and honors the beautiful cultures, traditions and lives of Indigeous People around the world. At Austin Community College students and staff annually celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day by educating its community of Native American history. 

Drawing attention to the trauma, broken treaties, broken promises and erasure brought by the celebration of Christopher Columbus. Prior to his arrival, Indigenous people were self-sufficient, thriving and successful communities that sustained and created life thousands of years. 

For Indigenoeu Folx, Repeat This! “I am here. I am Indigenous. And I am brilliant.” This is your affirmation today as we MUST celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day for those who are gone, those who are here, and those who will be. Indigenous Peoples’ Day is so much more than a day, and we are counting on everyone to make that known.

 To stand beside Indigenous people and say vote for people who will use their time in office to revitalize, invest and uplift communities of color. 

Want to celebrate or honor Indigenous people today or be more mindful of the Indeigenous community? Here are five ways you can”

  1. Plant native plants where you are! It’s never too late to thank and show appreciation to Mother Earth.
  2. Read Indigenous literature!
  3. Attend an online or in-person Indigenous Peoples’ Day celebration!
  4. Help teach a more truthful history of Columbus and the Indigenous peoples of the Caribbean Islands!
  5. Learn more by advocating and showing solidarity for Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

Getting Remote Career Ready with ACC Career Services

We talk to ACC Career Service about the best ways to adapt to a tumultuous job market.

By Adam Cherian

Need help preparing for the job market during a pandemic? We talk to ACC Career Service about the best ways to adapt to a tumultuous job market.

In the turbulent job market that COVID-19 has created, it’s essential that college students adopt the best qualifications for remote or online work. Given the volatile nature of this pandemic, it’s been stated as the safest option to search for work is remotely. Because there is no conclusive end to this pandemic, remote work seems to be the norm. That being said, there are new sets of skills that students need to adopt with such a shift in conditions. Career Services provides the best ways for ACC students to prepare for a career, remotely.

  1. Check Out the Job Search Page on the ACC Career Services Page
    • The best way to start your job search during a time when most things are remote is with this helpful page. ACC Career Services realize that the pandemic has hit working ACC students hard. So to help those who have lost their jobs, they created a page where you can look for job listings in your area. There is an excellent amount of positions ranging from in your field of study, to entry level jobs. Give it a look to help you find the best remote career opportunities.
  2. Read the Career Essentials Student Reference Guide (2019/2020)
    • This guide is a game changer! You will be given the most essential steps in how to prepare for applying for jobs. This guide is extensive, with sixty pages of extremely helpful information. It details everything from resumé tips, to Linkedin profile checklists. Better securing a good remote job is made easy with this guide, as it gives you the best tools to make you stand out. Consider giving this a read when applying for jobs to better prepare yourself, and to impress your future employers!
  3. Take a Glance at the ACC Resumé Guide
    • Need more help making your resumé stand out? During a time where remote work is becoming more necessary, a resumé that exceeds your employers expectations is a crucial step in securing a job. ACC Career Services has a resumé guide that is filled with tips, instructions, and examples to make sure you secure that remote position! Give this a read if you want to give your resumé a professional finish.
  4. Consider Practice Interviews using Big Interview
    • The interview process is always nerve-racking. With the added pressure of remote interviews and technological barriers, this process can be scary. Thankfully, ACC Career Services provides us with a platform where you can practice interviewing in your specific field. You can use this to practice at any time because the questions are pre-recorded. Give this a try and see how helpful practicing real world interviews virtually can be.
  5. Schedule an Appointment with a Career Counselor
    • Once you have visited all the other resources ACC Career Services has to offer, it’s time to visit with a career counselor. Career counselors will offer you with the best advice on how to get, and prepare yourself for a new job. Speaking with professionals on how to better suit yourself for a remote job is priceless, and ACC offers it for just that! If you want to understand everything you need to know for remote work, schedule an appointment with a counselor today! 

The year 2020 has thrown everyone for a loop. Hopefully these resources will help ACC students better prepare for the remote job market. These are the best for career readiness, and ACC students are privileged enough to get this for free!

National Hispanic Heritage Month

National Hispanic Heritage Month actually started off as only two days. During the 1960s civil rights movement, Californian Congressman George E. Brown California wanted to recognize the role Hispanics played in the United States.

 by Melanie Laporte

National Hispanic Heritage Month actually started off as only two days. During the 1960s civil rights movement, Californian Congressman George E. Brown California wanted to recognize the role Hispanics played in the United States. He was behind a law stating the president would issue annual proclamations for September 15 and 16 be observed with “ceremony and activities.” 

President Lyndon Johnson issued the first week-long proclamation in 1988 then President Reagan signed off on a full month of National Hispanic Heritage lasting until Oct.15. Every president thereafter has annually signed the proclamation.  

Mexican bread of the dead on clay dish with candles and flowers

National Hispanic Heritage Month celebrates the contributions, achievements, and histories of men and women of Hispanic origin as well as recalling the work of the early Spanish explorers and settlers.

Now, National Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15. The observance starts in the middle of September to commemorate anniversaries of independence for the Latin American countries of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua as well as Mexico’s independence.

In everyday life, people on the East Coast tend to identify as Hispanic whereas West coast residents use Latino according to the US Office of Management and Budget. But what is the difference between Hispanic and Latino/LatinX? 

Latino is anyone of Latin origin or ancestry in the Western Hemisphere including Brazil where Portuguese is the official language. 

The Census Bureau categorizes Hispanic is anyone with lineage from a Spanish-speaking country regardless of race: Guatemala, El Salvador, Mexico, Honduras, Panama, Ecuador, Colombia, Peru, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay, Chile, Nicaragua, Argentina, and Cuba.   Hispanics are linked by similar traditions of music, food, dance, culture, and one language: Spanish. Note, LatinX is the gender neutral term.

According to the Pew Research Center, there is a tendency to not identify as Latino as children assimilate into the US cultural melting pot. To not identify as “other” or foreign and the first thing people let go is language. It happens in almost every immigrant group. 

When a community loses what makes them different and unique, the entire country loses. It’s important to keep a strong identity and rich traditions then teach others about culture through music, dance, and pop culture to foster understanding and appreciation. 

National Hispanic Heritage Month is a time for all people to celebrate Hispanic history and community, culturally and economically. Firstly, start by supporting local Hispanic small businesses such as restaurants and speciality stores. Develop your spanish speaking abilities and donate to philanthropic groups like CASA and Somos. 

How to observe National Hispanic Heritage Month or Learn about the LatinX Community

 Austin Community College 
City of Austin
  • Meals on Wheels help deliver meals to hungry seniors as well as keeping them company.
  • CASA be an advocate volunteer to help abused and neglected children.
  • Latinitas give to or volunteer with the first digital magazine made by and for young Latinitas empowering all girls to innovate through media and technology.
  • Mexic-Arte Museum walk around the Official Mexican + Mexican American Museum of Texas to buy Made in Mexico embroidered Covid masks and see modern Latin art expositions. 
  • Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center – watch films from Mexico’s Golden Age of Cinema like Cantinflas, browse impactful art exhibits, make sugar skull masks, and learn from the online courses about Hispanic culture such as Lowriders: All about Austin’s Chicano Lowrider Culture.
  • Puerto Rican Cultural Center join them for Fiesta Boricua and the Paseo podcast with highlights from the Puerto Rican community 
  • Esquina Tango take Spanish language and Argentine tango dance classes.  
  • Somos Austin contact them to celebrate the city’s vibrant Latio community. 
  • Young Hispanic Professional Association of Austin gain leadership and professional development opportunities as well as scholarships and mentorship programs withYHPAA.
  • Hispanic Impact Fund give what you can or volunteer to the fund helping lift Hispanics in early childhood education, health and wellness, and develop critical job skills.