25 Sep Celebrating Latine History Month
Yes! We are calling this month Latine Heritage Month. At Community Coalition, we value diversity and inclusivity and are proud to recognize and celebrate the many contributions of the Latine community. We refer to this month as Latine Heritage Month as a way to promote inclusivity and gender neutrality, using the term “Latine” to encompass all individuals of Latin-American descent.
This month of recognition has a rich history, dating back to 1968 when it was first established as a weeklong celebration under President Lyndon Johnson. U.S. Representative Esteban Torres of East Los Angeles believed that more than a week was needed to celebrate Latine culture, so he authored H.R. 3182. The bill extended the celebration to a full 31 days, running through October 15th, which coincides with the national independence day of countries such as Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica. September 16th is Mexico’s independence day, while Chile celebrates on the 18th and Belize on the 21st.
Observing Latine Heritage Month allows us to recognize and support the work Latine Americans are doing in helping our communities grow and fight for racial and social justice, like Ms. Maria Rutledge, a lifelong resident of South LA and a long-time Community Coalition member. Over the years, this Afro-Latine activist has been heavily involved in CoCo’s campaigns to close liquor stores and ban flavored tobacco.
“The campaign to ban flavored tobacco and menthol] is really personal because my mom died very young because of smoking. Her bones were very brittle. Any kind of smoking damages your lungs, and when the paramedics tried to revive her from a broken hip, you could hear her chest breaking down. It was very sad, and it’s been important to me to adopt a healthy lifestyle,” explains Mrs. Rutledge.
“All of these predatory businesses are here to make sure we get addicted so they can make money off our suffering and pain. The menthol is designed for our children to get addicted so they don’t have a future,” she continues.
“There are tobacco ads everywhere in our community, and they make it look like candy and all colorful. To our youth, they don’t always know that it’s a life sentence they’re jumping into. It’s that addictive,” adds the determined activist.
“I’m going to do everything I can to get rid of these liquor stores and smoke shops and replace them with positive things that give our youth a vision.”
Click on the link below to check out Ms. Rutledge in action!