National Hispanic Heritage Month, celebrated from September 15 through October 15, recognizes and celebrates the history, presence, and contributions of the many (currently 56.6 million!) Latinos living in the United States. Here in Arizona, about 30% of our state’s residents are of Hispanic or Latino origin, and celebrating Hispanic culture is already very much a part of day-to-day life for many Arizonans. But the festivities kick into high gear during Hispanic Heritage Month—and you and your troop can join in! Below are some fun and engaging activities you can try with your troop to celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month:
Make a traditional Latin dish.
Food connects us all and is a great way to explore another country’s culture without ever leaving home! Plus Southern Arizona has tons of resources and restaurants to connect you with Latin cuisine. Schedule a field trip to learn how tamales or tortillas are made, or reserve the kitchen at Angel Charity Place for Girls and explore a recipe with your troop. Eat out at a local restaurant, or invite girls’ families to contribute a dish to a troop potluck. The possibilities are endless—and delicious!
Learn about some of the most independent, courageous, innovative, and successful Latina women who’ve helped pave the way for future generations to come.
- Justice Sonia Sotomayor became the first Latina justice (and the third female justice!) to serve on the United States Supreme Court in 2009.
- Sandra Cisneros, a groundbreaker in Chicana Literature, became the first female Mexican-American writer to have her work published by a mainstream publisher. She’s best known for her novel, The House on Mango Street, which stems from personal stories of growing up and coming-of-age as a Latina in Chicago.
- Dolores Huerta, a Mexican-American labor leader, co-founded the labor union, United Farm Workers, and advocated for workers’, immigrants’, and women’s rights. ¡Sí, se puede! (Yes, we can!) Want to learn more about the contributions Dolores made to the civil rights era and her fight for farm workers? Watch Dolores, available for rent at Casa Video in Tucson and streaming on Amazon Video.
- Ellen Ochoa, the current Director of the Johnson Space Center, was the first Latina woman to go to space (she’s logged almost 1,000 hours in space!). In 1993, she served aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery on a nine-day mission to study the Earth’s ozone layer.
Attend a local event and celebrate Arizona’s history, culture, and traditions.
Southern Arizona is rife with opportunities to explore Hispanic heritage and culture. Visit Living History Day at the Tucson Presidio, or celebrate Mexican Independence Day at this year’s fiesta in Barrio Santa Cruz. Take your troop to a free showing of Coco at Cochise College in Sierra Vista, or take a tour of the fourth-annual Hispanic Heritage Art Exhibition at Arizona Western College in Yuma. Is your troop more hands-on? Consider inviting a dance teacher from a ballet folkloricó school to your next meeting, or saddle up and learn about the roots of rodeo at a ranch. These are just a few suggestions—encourage your girls to look up a local event that appeals to them!
How will you celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month?