From September 15 to October 15, the history, contributions, and culture of the Latin American community are honored across the United States.
Latin American culture and strength touch our lives almost daily, from sports and arts to food, drink, and beyond. To celebrate the history and contributions of the Latin American community and support its members, we will honor September 15 to October 15, 2021, as Latine Heritage Month.
This tradition began back in 1968 under President Lyndon Johnson as a week-long observance before it was later expanded to one month under President Ronald Reagan in 1988, according to the U.S. House of Representatives: History, Art & Archives. The celebration begins in mid-month because many important independence days fall on September 15: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua, all declared independence in 1821. Mexico and Chile’s independence days come shortly after on September 16 and September 18, respectively, during this 31-day period.
While you may see this month referred to as Hispanic Heritage Month, Pablo Schmidt-Escobar, certified trainer and Tonal coach, explains that it was necessary to honor this period with a more inclusive name. Hispanic only refers to people who descend from Spanish-speaking countries, while Latine represents people who are of Latin American descent, regardless of language.
“The Spanish language is very gendered, and unless it specifies female, it assumes masculinity as the norm,” he says. “For more inclusivity, variations of Latin, Latino, and Latina have been explored by Latin Americans in both the U.S. and Latin America.”
For this reason, you may also have seen this month referred to as Latinx, a popular term coined in the U.S. in 2013. “However, the Spanish language does not pronounce ‘X’ the same way as the English language,” explains Coach Pablo. “Spanish speakers found a more gender-neutral term with Latine, pronounced la-teen-eh.”
Coach Pablo adds that Latine also respects that Latin America and its people are not a monolith. “We need our depth and uniqueness to be recognized. The diversity of countries, accents, languages, and people mean there cannot be a generic Latin American experience,” he says.
Each country in Latin America has its own history, issues, and strengths that inform every person who descends from that country, he adds. “My experience as a Guatemalan-American will be different from a Peruvian-American or a Cuban-American. It’s important to respect that. We need to be seen for who we are: complex, beautiful, accomplished, valuable, poetic, vivacious, and fascinating.”
For Latine Heritage Month, Tonal will be supporting Instituto Familiar de la Raza Inc. with a monetary donation. Located in San Francisco, this multi-service organization integrates cultural values and traditions into its programs, services, and interventions—many of which are geared toward enhancing the health and wellbeing of the local Latin American community.
- September 22, 2021, 5 p.m. PT: Join Coach Pablo as he talks to Gloria Romero, Executive Director of Instituto Familiar de la Raza Inc. about the importance of Latine Heritage Month and how we can be better allies to serve the community.
Instagram Live: Coach Pablo and Conrad Rodas
- September 24, 2021, 5 p.m. PT: Coach Pablo sits down with Conrad Rodas, an amateur triathlete and Tonal community member, as they celebrate the strength and resilience of the Latin American community and discuss the community’s ties to health and wellness.
Instagram Live: Coach Jared and Coach Frances
- October 7, 2021 5 p.m. PT: Join Tonal coaches Jared Rodriguez and Frances Flores as they celebrate the diversity of the Latin American community and discuss how their cultures and upbringings shaped their coaching styles.
Stories of Strength
- Throughout Latine Heritage Month, we will also be sharing uplifting Stories of Strength on our social channels, on Tonal’s blog, and in the Official Tonal Community, so keep an eye out for those.