Embracing National Hispanic Heritage Month at GOTR
¡Hola and Bienvenido! Hello and Welcome!
We are excitedly celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month 2023 at Girls on the Run and highlighting our core value of “embrace our differences and find strength in our connectedness.” Hispanic Heritage Month promotes multicultural awareness and inclusivity and recognizes the contributions and diversity of Hispanic and Latino team members at our organization and in the communities we serve. These concepts play a vital role in building a more equitable and inclusive society where people from all backgrounds contribute to progress and continue to thrive.
Each year, National Hispanic Heritage Month takes place from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 – we are right in the corazón of it! – and celebrates the cultural heritage and contributions in the U.S. and beyond. The month coincides with the independence of many Latin American countries and praises the achievements of their communities at large. This time period is also known as Hispanic and Latino Heritage Month, Mexican Heritage Month and Latin Heritage Month.
At Girls on the Run, inclusion means creating an environment where every girl, regardless of her background, feels valued, supported, and empowered to reach her limitless potential. This commitment to inclusion not only matters during Hispanic Heritage Month but throughout the entire year, fostering a sense of belonging and promoting positive life skills and values for all GOTR participants. This Hispanic Heritage Month, our internal employee group called the Culture Committee, specifically members Lisa Keller and Mia Mamone, hosted a first-ever gathering honoring the occasion. Read on to learn more about this virtual event, takeaways you can try out at home, and why this holiday is important for all people!
First things first, what does Hispanic Heritage Month mean to you? And how are you celebrating?
Lisa: It’s a time for me to reflect upon the vibrant historical, cultural, social and societal influence of my Hispanic culture. I’m proud to be a Puerto Rican American with ancestry from Spain, Portugal, and Africa. Additionally, it’s also bringing an awareness to the rich diverse cultures that existence in the world. I feel we need to understand there are many faces to being Hispanic and Latino making our societies unique and beautiful.
Mia: My fiancé Alex is Cuban and has family in both Cuba and Hialeah (Miami), so we plan on having a Cuban night at home that reflects what the parties were like in Miami with his family. 🙂 Hispanic Heritage Month highlights what I love about Hispanic culture and brings me so much joy from the electric music, the genuine and kind love for one another, delicious food, and togetherness. This time allows me to appreciate and educate myself and others about the significance and impact of Hispanic culture in America.
Why is this month-long recognition and celebration important for all people?
Mia: It’s about representation and appreciation for a collection of Hispanic cultures and how their history reflects into our everyday lives. It gives what is considered a minority group a platform to be acknowledged and celebrated for what they have brought to our lives in America. About 63.7 million people, 19% of the population, is of Hispanic heritage. Representation is so important for everyone to feel a sense of belonging and connectedness.
Lisa: Hispanic Heritage Month isn’t just about celebrating a particular culture: It’s a reminder that Hispanic history is a mixture of many heritages in the U.S. It’s about recognizing that Hispanic culture is a vibrant part of American history – the good, the tough, the progress we’ve made, and the dreams we still chase. I genuinely believe that shining a spotlight on Hispanic Heritage Month today is as crucial as ever. It helps us understand ourselves better and strengthens our identity as a nation. That’s why it’s so important to take a moment to celebrate the incredible contributions of Hispanic and Latino people, to pay homage to the achievements of past generations, to acknowledge the injustices endured over centuries, and to work towards a more equitable future. I do believe coming together to honor the past and learn from it, so we can build a better future for all.
This year, the GOTRI Culture Committee, specifically you, Lisa Keller and Mia Mamone, hosted a virtual internal Hispanic Heritage Month event. What did this event entail?
Lisa and Mia: On Thursday, Sept. 28, we enjoyed celebrating and showcasing a glimpse of Hispanic Heritage Month together. We learned, connected, and had some fun along the way! Here’s a snapshot of our event:
- We started with a warm welcome and a quick introduction about why we’re celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month. Then, we shared our unique Hispanic experiences and asked others to do the same.
- Next, we highlighted the history of why it’s celebrated along with a breakdown of terms: Hispanic, Latino, Latinx/e.
- Then, as a true crowd pleaser and organization favorite, we played trivia where we showcased various Hispanic and Latin cultures. Our organization promotes a mastery climate and we also enjoy bragging rights around our virtual watercooler.
- After our trivia game, we taught a new Girls on the Run Energy Award in Spanish called “¡Ole’!” The word “Ole’” means an exclamation of approval or encouragement in Spanish.
- Finally, we closed out with links to overall information/documentaries, books, recipes and other recommendations for more Hispanic Heritage Month insights and beyond!
How does the celebration Hispanic Heritage Month extend the Girls on the Run core values?
Mia: This celebration allows people to learn about different backgrounds, have more worldly knowledge, and become more inclusive as a result!
Lisa: For me, Hispanic Heritage Month extends the Girls on the Run’s core values by promoting inclusivity, empowerment, positive self-identity, community engagement, and healthy relationships, all of which are essential elements of the mission to help participants girls grow into confident, capable, and caring individuals.
This year, get involved in an organization that’s committed to embracing the values, backgrounds, and cultures of all people. Find a council near you to learn more!