14 Legit Ways to Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month

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Hispanic Heritage Month is here!

This annual U.S. observance, from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, celebrates the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.

We at Salud America! invite you to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month in these awesome ways.

1. Learn How Hispanic Heritage Month Started

U.S. Congressmen Edward R. Roybal of Los Angeles and Henry B. Gonzales were among those who introduced legislation on the topic in 1968.

hispanic heritage month week proclamation from LBJ
President Johnson’s Proclamation 3869, National Hispanic Heritage Week, 1968. (Records of the U.S. House of Representatives, National Archives)

President Lyndon Johnson implemented the observance as Hispanic Heritage Week that year.

U.S. Rep. Esteban E. Torres of Pico Rivera proposed the observance be expanded to cover its current 30-day period. President Ronald Reagan implemented the expansion to Hispanic Heritage Month.

It was enacted into law on August 17, 1988.

2. Find Out Why Hispanic Heritage Month Starts on Sept. 15

Sept. 15 is significant because it is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua, according to the U.S. Library of Congress.

In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on Sept. 16 and Sept. 18.

Also, Columbus Day or Día de la Raza, which is Oct. 12, falls within the 30-day period of Hispanic Heritage Month.

3. Take Action to Slow the Spread of COVID-19

COVID-19 continues to disproportionately impact Latinos.

Overview 3: Juntos We Can Stop Covid-19 campaign coronavirusAs Latinos, we are resilient. But part of our resiliency requires action to slow the spread of COVID-19!

That’s why Salud America! at UT Health San Antonio launched the “Juntos, We Can Stop COVID-19” digital communication campaign to help Latino families and workers take action to slow the spread of coronavirus.

The #JuntosStopCovid campaign features culturally relevant fact sheets, infographics, and video role model stories to encourage Latinos to change their public health behaviors.

Share the campaign with your friends, family, and colleagues!

share the campaign!

4. Get Your City to Declare Racism a Public Health Crisis!

Racism is a public health crisis.

Systemic racism makes it harder for Latinos and other people of color to get healthcare, housing, transportation, education, employment, healthy food, safe treatment by police, and more.

Download the free Salud America!Get Your City to Declare Racism a Public Health Crisis Action Pack“!

The Action Pack will help you gain feedback from local social justice groups and advocates of color. It will also help you start a conversation with city leaders for a resolution to declare racism a public health issue along with a commitment to take action to change policies and practices. It will also help build local support.

GET THE ACTION PACK!

5. Download a ‘Health Equity Report Card’ for Your City!

You can’t take action to address health equity if you don;t know where the gaps are.

That’s why you should download a Health Equity Report Card from Salud America! at UT Health San Antonio.

Health Equity Report CardWith the report card, you can see how many people face inequities in food access, education, income, health care, and much more.

Then you can email your Health Equity Report Card to community leaders, share on social, and build the case to address health equity issues in at-risk areas!

GET YOUR HEALTH EQUITY REPORT CARD!

6. Take Steps to Help Us Achieve a Cohesive Culture for Health Equity!

Do you notice how much some of your neighbors are suffering?

A widening rich-poor gap and discrimination contribute to inequitable distribution of healthcare, resources, and mental and physical health disparities among Latinos and other people of color and those in poverty, according to a new research review from Salud America!, a national network for health equity at UT Health San Antonio.

The review examines covers three key mechanisms─implicit bias, system justification, and moral disengagement─people use to discriminate against people of color and/or justify poverty.

“To achieve a cohesive culture focused on health equity─where everyone works individually and as a group to ensure each person has a fair and just opportunity for health and wealth─we must help people understand and overcome the mechanisms by which they excuse discrimination and make justifications for poverty,” said Amelie G. Ramirez, DrPH, lead author of the new research review and director of Salud America! and the Institute for Health Promotion Research at UT Health San Antonio.

CHECK OUT THE RESEARCH!

7. Start ‘Handle With Care’ So Police Alert Schools if Kids Are Exposed to Trauma (Even If School is Closed or Virtual)!

60% of U.S. children have been exposed to violence, crime, or abuse.

These kids still have to go to class. They carry a burden of trauma that can interfere with their behavior and grades. And schools don’t know there’s an issue at home.

Handle With Care police school traumaEnter “Handle With Care.”

Download the free Salud America!Handle With Care Action Pack” to start a Handle With Care program. In the program, police notify schools when they encounter children at a traumatic scene, so schools can provide support right away.

The Action Pack contains materials and technical assistance to start a conversation and plans for implementing a Handle With Care program. Over 65 U.S. cities have started such a program.

The Action Pack was created by Dr. Amelie G. Ramirez, director of the Salud America! Latino health equity program at UT Health San Antonio, with help from Andrea Darr, director of the West Virginia Center for Children’s Justice, which started the first Handle With Care program in 2013.

GET THE ACTION PACK!

8. Find Out the Latest News in Latino Health Equity amid the COVID-19 Pandemic

With the rise of COVID-19, our team at Salud America! is digitally curating content about what the coronavirus pandemic means for Latino health equity and efforts to help vulnerable communities.

We want to ensure Latinos get an equitable share of culturally relevant information during the outbreak.

Check out our page:

Latinos and covid-19!

9. Subscribe to the Only Latino Health Equity Podcast!

The “Salud Talks” podcast, from the team at Salud America! at UT Health San Antonio, is now live!

SaludTalks podcastFor each episode, listeners will hear from health equity experts—from grassroots movements to national organizations—on topics ranging from cultural representation, climate change, childhood trauma, mental health, and more.

Salud Talks episodes are released every every month.

Each episode is available wherever fine podcasts are downloaded, including Apple PodcastsSpotify, and SoundCloud.

10. Start a School Food Pantry!

About 1 in 6 children are food insecure. They don’t know where their next meal is coming from.

Your school can help these kids!

roadrunner food pantryFor Hispanic Heritage Month, try the Salud America! “School Food Pantry Action Pack” is a free guide to help school personnel talk to decision-makers, work through logistics, and start a School Food Pantry to help hungry students and reduce local food insecurity.

A School Food Pantry accepts, stores, and redistributes donated and leftover food to students.

The Action Pack was created by Dr. Amelie G. Ramirez, director of Salud America! at UT Health San Antonio.

Dr. Ramirez had input from Jenny Arredondo, nutrition director at San Antonio ISD. Arredondo started school food pantries on 10 campuses in 2017-18, based on a Texas law change led by Diego Bernal.

GET THE ACTION PACK!

11. Create a Trauma-Sensitive School!

The Salud America! “Trauma Sensitive School Action Pack” is a free guide with coaching to help school personnel talk to decision-makers, build a support team, craft a system to identify and support traumatized students.

GET THE ACTION PACK!

12. Get Outside and Garden!

Caesar Valdillez loves where he lives—the Southtown neighborhood in San Antonio (63% Latino).

Valdillez grew up in the neighborhood and even moved back after he finished college, hoping to meet like-minded environmentalists to improve the neighborhood and sustain it for many years to come.

Caesar Valdillez southtown community garden san antonioBut he noticed Southtown lacked the healthy food options it needed to be a truly healthy community.

“Our neighborhood does not have any reasonable grocery store in the area, especially with fresh produce and herbs,” he said.

Valdillez decided to help.

He worked with neighbors and the city to start a local garden!

For Valdillez and his neighbors, it’s all about making their community better for everyone.

“Urban gardening is our grassroots way of making a difference in the world, one preserved green space at a time,” Valdillez said.

13. Think “Water Bottle Fountains”

Water Bottle Fountains are filtered water dispensers for easily filling and refilling water bottles.

Water Bottle Fountains give kids much-needed access to safe drinking water throughout the school day.

They also help keep kids hydrated while saving families money from buying bottled water. They help the environment by reducing waste.

Salud America! wants to help you get Water Bottle Fountains at your school with our custom-for-you Water Bottle Fountain Action Pack with Coaching!

GET YOUR WATER BOTTLE FOUNTAIN ACTION PACK!

14. Volunteer for Your Comunidad!

Kindness counts.

Helping people is good. And it also helps you, too.

diverse group volunteering for environmental clean up hispanic heritage month“Doing a kindness produces the single most reliable increase in wellbeing [for the doer] of any exercise we’ve tested,” said Dr. Martin Seligman of Penn’s Positive Psychology Center.

A national survey of 3,351 adults found that the overwhelming majority of participants reported feeling mentally and physically healthier after a volunteer experience, HuffPost reports.

“Studies have shown that volunteering helps people who donate their time feel more socially connected, thus warding off loneliness and depression,” said Stephanie Watson of the Harvard Health Blog. “A growing body of evidence suggests that people who give their time to others might also be rewarded with better physical health—including lower blood pressure and a longer lifespan.”

So help out your fellow neighbors this Hispanic Heritage Month!

By The Numbers By The Numbers

50

percent

of big U.S cities have a local board of health

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