In the United States we observe Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15th through October 15th. During this time the country is encouraged to reflect on the influence of Hispanic and Latin@ culture to the larger culture of the United States. Often this means to remember and honor the great heroes and heroines of our communities like Gloria Anzaldúa, Dolores Huertas, César Chávez and other Latin@s who have helped raised awareness about the influence of Hispanics in the country. However, seldom do we hear from the “everyday Hispanics” who make a difference in their local communities.
How many of you have heard of the work of Pedro Julio Serrano, Norma Zavala, Sylvia Rivera, Karen Leslie Hernández, Karlo Karlo, Luis Alvarenga, Julio Granados…? The list can go on and on. There are millions of little known Latin@s throughout the country making a difference in their communities. This is why I have decided to start a project, the Everyday Hispanic Heritage Project, featuring one or two of these amazing individuals.
Of course, this is not and could never be a complete list. This is just the beginning. My goal is to raise awareness of the millions of unknown Juans, Marías, Pedros, Gladys, Josés, Anas who give of themselves to make their communities a better place to live.
The project has its limitations of course. One of these limitations is the fact that I do not know all the places where Latin@s are working day to day to transform the lives of others. Therefore, if you know of an amazing story of an unknown Latin@ who is doing great work locally, please feel free to email me and let me know. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org .