President and CEO, Hispanic Heritage Foundation
As we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month against the ominous backdrop of an anti-Latinx, anti-immigrant, and anti-other sentiment, our own community can’t ignore its own divisiveness.
I ask: if we’re so against building a wall, then why do we build so many walls between us?
Abolish all walls
Diversity exists within each of our own cultures, and a big part of what makes the Latino community so vibrant is that we are like everyoneacross all spectrums.
Our community reflects America, and like America, we have a beautiful mosaic to celebrate and bring together to move forward more powerfully.
However, much like America, we are not immune from racism, classism, homophobia, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, sexism, and more. I don’t ever want to hear that someone is too black, too indigenous, too Asian, or too white. We are all Latinx.
What I don’t want to hear
I don’t want to hear that someone is too gay, too lesbian, too trans, too bi, or too any other sexual identification. We are all Latinx.
I don’t want to hear that someone is too Jewish, too Muslim, too Buddhist, too Christian, too atheist, or too any other belief system. We are all Latinx.
I don’t want to hear that someone is too disabled, too old, too young, or has a mental illness, too rich, too poor, too undocumented, too uneducated, or too educated. We are all Latinx.
I don’t want to hear that someone isn’t Latinx enough because they don’t speak a word of English — or doesn’t speak a word of Spanish — or if they speak Spanish badly (like I do), or have a name that isn’t traditional. We are all Latinx.
I also don’t want to hear that someone’s heritage is held against them because it’s from a particular country in Latin America or anywhere else in the world. We need to come together as Latinx.
And we also need to welcome our brothers and sisters who aren’t even of Hispanic descent, but love and appreciate our culture so much that they take part in the celebration and la lucha together with us. I’ve always said that no one should define us as Latinx. We need to define ourselves. But that definition needs to be broader, and more inclusive. It must be Latinx.
Antonio Tijerino, President and CEO, Hispanic Heritage Foundation, [email protected]