It might be the start of Latine Hispanic Heritage Month, but we know our community’s voices deserve to be amplified each and every day. Not just a diversity, equity, and inclusion initiative for Latines that brands do once a year.
Another year, another Latine Hispanic Heritage Month to celebrate, and I feel a little exasperated about it. Why? Well, because I celebrate my cultura all year long. I appreciate that since 1988 the U.S. government has set aside a whole month from September 15 to October 15 to celebrate and publicly acknowledge “the histories, cultures, and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central, and South America.” However, I don’t appreciate how so many companies and brands use this month as an opportunity to make money off a community that they don’t show up for and support consistently for the other 11 months.
Have you noticed how some companies only pay attention to us during Latine Hispanic Heritage Month?
I find it aggravating and offensive to walk into stores decked out in Hispanic/Latine pride in the form of products we can buy for a “limited time only” placed front and center during Latine Hispanic Heritage Month (LHHM). Meanwhile, the rest of the year, they act like Latines don’t exist or are some tiny niche segment of the market when we’re out here driving the economy every damn day.
“The Hispanic community now represents 19% of the U.S. population, up 23% over the past decade, outpacing the nation’s overall population growth of 7%. With a buying power of $2.7 trillion, if U.S. Latinos were a standalone economy, they would be the seventh-largest GDP in the world—ahead of Italy, Brazil, and Canada.” – Nielsen
Also, I’m not trying to shell out more money than usual during LHHM unless I’m supporting fellow Latine-owned businesses.
I appreciate the efforts of some, like Target, who show up consistently and collaborate with artists and small businesses en nuestra comunidad. However, I’m not saving up money throughout the year to allot a certain percentage of my yearly income to be spent only during LHHM for “limited edition” Latine-created products. I’d rather support Latine-owned businesses and creators all year long.
“Just like mothers during Mother’s Day celebration, Hispanics should be celebrated every day of the year. When our clients ask us how to maximize their [LHHM] efforts, we often recommend using it as the launchpad for their year-long community outreach programs.” – Aldo Quevedo, CEO and Creative Chairman at Beautiful Beast Agency, as told to Forbes.
Let’s not fall for the hype; instead, let’s hype our community all year long.
When our clients ask us how to maximize their [LHHM] efforts, we often recommend using it as the launchpad for their year-long community outreach programs.
Aldo Quevedo, CEO and Creative Chairman at Beautiful Beast Agency
Listen, if you want to buy that cute “Proud De Mi Cultura” t-shirt from Target, I will not tell you not to. Heck, I might buy it too. But, let’s also remember that we can get those kinds of t-shirts and so much more all year long directly from Latine-owned businesses.
“Connecting with the Hispanic community is all about authenticity and consistency. If you want to engage with this brand-loyal audience in a truly meaningful and credible way, you must stay connected to their passions throughout the year, every year.” – Donna Speciale, President of Advertising Sales & Marketing, Univision, as told to Forbes.
Easy ways to support Latine-businesses and creators all year long.
When some brands only pander to us during Latine Hispanic Heritage month, it’s up to us as a community to support each other 365 days a year. The same goes for those who consider themselves allies of the community. There are so many ways that we can support our extended Latine community all year long; here are just a few:
- Follow Latine-owned businesses on social media and share their posts with your online community.
- The same goes for Latine creators, artists, and writers. For example, if you like this article, please share it. If there are content creators you appreciate, and you know people who say something along the lines of, “well, I don’t know any Latine content creators that are plant enthusiasts,” share them so you can help people discover new talent.
- Intentionally shop at Latine-owned businesses all year long. Need help finding them or being found? You can check out over 400 in our #WeAllGrow Small Business Directory.
- Hire Latines! Whether it’s for a job role you’re looking to fill within your company or department or for freelance work to help you grow within your business, offer Latines a seat at the table with you. Heck, we’ll bring our own chair, just make room for us at the table.
- Pass the mic to share the stories of Latines on your platform, if that’s an option. A great example is content creator Blair Imani. She has over half a million followers on Instagram and has passed the mic on her Instagram to provide a deeper look at what Hispanic Heritage Month means from a Latine’s POV, rather than sharing from her perspective. Also, be sure to address the issues that affect Latines all year long and share how collectively we can make the world a better place for everyone.
Let’s not wait for others to celebrate us every day. Let’s do it ourselves and for ourselves, and rally others to genuinely celebrate us all year round, too.
About the Author
Claudya Martinez is a writer and content creator with a sense of humor. She loves collaborating with #WeAllGrow. You can follow her at @byclaudya on IG. You can read more of her pieces here.