Thursday marks the first day of Hispanic Heritage Month, ringing in a cultural celebration of food, music and hard-fought social change that will last until mid-October.
A mix of vibrant events on campus and across D.C. honors the hallmarks of Hispanic culture that have shaped DMV communities for generations. Celebrate Hispanic culture on campus, learn to cook a traditional Mexican meal at the National Museum of American History and learn about the history of discrimination that has targeted the Hispanic community across the region.
To make the most of what Hispanic Heritage Month has to offer, don’t miss these events:
All month: the Multicultural Student Services Center’s Latinx Heritage Celebration
Each year, the MSSC selects a theme that guides monthlong celebrations for the cultural mosaic on campus. MSSC Graduate Coordinator Keyla Ruiz said this year, student-led Latino organizations like GW Alianza and the Organization for Latin American Students teamed up with MSSC to reveal the 2022 theme, “United Community, Can’t be Divided.” She said the theme reflects the collaboration between Latino orgs and MSSC to plan the monthlong celebration, in addition to the hardships of the past few years that have broken communities. To kick off the celebrations this month, Ruiz said OLAS is hosting “Meet the Familia” Thursday for the GW Latino community to gather together at the first of a series of events. She said student cultural performances, guest lectures and educational sessions will take place throughout the month, including a conversation about gun violence that will be hosted by Lambda Pi Chi, a Latina-based sorority at GW.
Learn more about the annual slate of celebrations here.
Saturday, Sept. 17: Cooking up History: Celebrating Comida Chingona & the Low-Rider Lifestyle
Feast your eyes on a free cooking demonstration with Chef Silvana Salcido Esparza, who highlights Mexican American culture as she crafts her iconic smoked cochinita pibil – a traditional Mexican dish made of pork and vegetables grilled in banana leaves – at the National Museum of American History. Esparza honors her heritage through food at her Phoenix-based restaurant and creates her own distinctive versions of traditional dishes. She will share her interest in lowrider cars that young Mexican American men in the Phoenix area would drive. Known as “pachucos,” these men would clash with law enforcement and advocate for Hispanic civil rights dating back to the 1950s. Esparza will discuss how the long-standing lifestyle that came with these customizable vehicles is tied to Phoenix food culture.
1300 Constitution Ave. NW, between 12th and 14th streets. Noon to 1 p.m. Free. Find more information here.
Sunday, Sept. 18: Latinx Caribbean Heritage Panel – Dahlma Llanos-Figueroa and Carmen Rita Wong
Listen to a panel of Latin Caribbean authors in an intimate conversation about their heritage, culture and upbringing at Politics and Prose Bookstore near Chevy Chase. The event will spotlight two distinguished writers, Dahlma Llanos-Figueroa and Carmen Rita Wong, who will discuss their shared Caribbean heritage. Much of Llanos-Figueroa’s work revolves around her upbringing in rural Puerto Rico and influence from the stories that older women in her family would share. Wong is the founder and CEO of multimedia company Malecon Productions, LLC and the author of two best-selling financial advice books. The panel will explore what it means to be a Hispanic female professional using literature as a form of cultural expression, both as a writer and a professor.
5015 Connecticut Ave. NW. 3 p.m. Free, first come, first served. Find more information here.
Friday, Sept. 23: Screening of La Manplesa: An Uprising Remembered
Watch a film about the 1991 protests that took place in D.C. after the police shooting of Salvadoran local Daniel Gomez at Art All Night – the District’s annual arts festival in Mount Pleasant. The local Latino community railed against law enforcement in protests after the shooting, setting police cars on fire and fleeing from tear gas in the streets. “La Manplesa” explores how the protests took shape and honors the lesser-known stories of police brutality that have impacted Hispanic victims. The film preserves the Salvadoran community’s experiences during the protests and highlights their contribution to social change. Hear testimony, song and poetry from activists and advocates, who capture the adversity that racial minorities face in D.C. as you watch the film in the same neighborhood where the uprising took place.
Address not yet available. Mount Pleasant. Free. Find more information here.
Saturday, Sept. 24: Hispanic Heritage Month Comedy Show – “I SURVIVED LA CHANCLA”
Enjoy a night of comedy on the intimate stage of Simple Bar and Grill, one of D.C.’s local venues for Sunday comedy shows. This month, the stage will spotlight a lineup of Latino comedians, including Gabriel Rojo, Roxette, Hector Castro and Elena Torres who have performed at popular venues like DC Improv and Broadway Comedy Club. The title of the show references the shared punishment from immigrant Latina mothers who use “la chancla,” the slipper or flip-flop. A cheeky but authentic tribute to the Hispanic experience, the show is a lively way to both support and honor Hispanic creatives.
Simple Bar and Grill, 5802 Georgia Ave. NW. 7 p.m. Admission is $10. Buy tickets here.
All month: alt.Latino: NPR’s Latinx Arts and Culture Broadcast
Tune into NPR’s alt.Latino show to listen to podcasts covering the Latino music scene through creative storytelling within the Hispanic community. Delivering compelling stories each week, alt.Latino ensures that Hispanic voices are broadcasted on one of the largest stages in the news. Listen to the year-round program and hear NPR’s Felix Contreras and Anamaria Sayre sit down with Latino artists to discuss historically Hispanic genres – old and new – the history of Latino performers and the gender and racial implications intertwined with Latino culture. Music and storytelling, as an epicenter of Hispanic culture, remain a vital way to express Latino heritage and experience, so explore the weekly podcast to honor these traditions.
Discover new articles and podcasts here.