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This Latinx Heritage Month, come to the library! Attend multilingual events, explore the cultural diversity within the Latino community, and find new and exciting books.
The United States first observed Latinx Heritage Month in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week. In 1988, the date was extended to a month-long period from September 15 - October 15. It was enacted as Public Law 100-402.
At Multnomah County Library, the month-long cultural festivities are referred to as Latinx Heritage Month, to include the diversity in race, gender, language and countries that make up the Latino community.
“I personally identify more with Latinx,” says Maria Tobón López, library assistant at St. Johns Library. “I understand all of our experiences are different. It’s important to recognize that some of us don't fall under the perfect sphere of Hispanic and we have a lot of Indigenous communities that aren’t represented with it. What I like more about Latinx, is being representative and being able to observe all of our identities.”
St. Johns Library will change its displays to reflect the events it’s hosting- including comedy for kids, Loteria night, and a churro cooking class.
On the Noche de Loteria (Loteria night) Maria says, “It is very near and dear to my heart. I see it as an event where the community can come together, all different ages and walks of life to play a simple game. I’ve witnessed it before where people may not know how to play the game, but you see these little relationships come out, and I can’t wait to share this with St. Johns. I know there is a large Latino and Spanish-speaking community that will be excited to do this.”
Library events will center on music and food! With events like Venezuelan arepa making and Paraguayan music, the Latino community can come together to share in culture and joy.
Juan Garcia, teen librarian at Rockwood Library, says, “I moved to the United States from Mexico when I was 7, and for a long time it was hard for me to find my place in this country. Assimilation played a big part in my upbringing, I wanted to fit in and didn’t realize I was pushing my culture away. This is a struggle many other immigrants have. It makes me so happy to work at a place like the public library that not only acknowledges our culture but creates spaces to celebrate it. This Latinx Heritage month, I am excited about all of the events my library and neighboring libraries are hosting.”
If you’re unable to attend an event but want to stay connected:
- Explore the library's books and movies collection by Latino authors
- Practice your Spanish skills with Mango languages
- Visit Oregon Encyclopedia’s Latinos in Oregon page
- Learn facts about Latino origin groups by the Pew Research Center, for example about 6 million adults identify as Afro-Latino.
- The library also provides culturally specific programs and resources in Spanish throughout the year!