Hispanic Heritage Month began as a commemorative week in 1968 and became the month-long, national celebration we know today to express our gratitude for all the ways in which each Latin culture enriches, enlightens, and enhances our community.
Observing the contributions of others or of your own community isn’t always about making a big splash with a festival, though I’ll never say “No” to a Conjunto music festival. Instead, it’s simply taking a moment to recognize that some of your favorite foods, beverages, vacation spots, fashion, artists, business owners, and people are born out of a vibrant history they choose to share with you.
As a Mexican American, I was brought up and given opportunities to praise the people who came before me and take pride in all the ways my culture showed up not only for each other, but for the community at large. However, we often overlook those who are living unhoused. It isn’t something we do consciously, but nevertheless it happens. According to data from our community’s Homeless Management Information System (HMIS), 32% of the people who got help from the Homelessness Response System (HRS) in 2022 in Austin/Travis County identify as Hispanic. For me, Hispanic Heritage Month serves as a reminder that every individual, regardless of their housing situation, is worthy of being celebrated for their existence.
At ECHO, our goal remains the same: We believe everyone deserves the opportunity to build a foundation that allows them to honor their history and celebrate their present. This can look different person to person, and ECHO continues to coordinate with the HRS to ensure everyone has access to the resources they need, so our unhoused neighbors know they are not forgotten.