National Hispanic Heritage month celebrates the contributions of Hispanic Americans as well as the histories and unique cultures of the American Latino community. It runs Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 and features diverse activities and events.
Hispanic Heritage Month is an opportunity to appreciate the many ways the Latino community enriches our society and contributes to Gift of Life Michigan’s mission to honor life through organ and tissue donation.
We believe that patients on the waiting list for organ transplants can benefit immensely from such contributions. In Michigan, nearly 2,400 people are waiting for a transplant, including 100 people of Hispanic descent. Signing up as an organ donor during Hispanic Heritage Month gives hope to those transplant candidates who are Hispanic and increases their likelihood of survival.
History of Hispanic Heritage Month
Since 1968, Hispanic Heritage Month has celebrated the history and culture of U.S. Latinx and Hispanic communities.
The celebration was introduced by California Congressman George E. Brown and gained momentum in the 1960s. During this time the civil rights movement was particularly active, and there was increased awareness of multicultural communities in the U.S.
The bill was passed into law on Sept. 17, 1968, and congress authorized President Lyndon Johnson to issue a proclamation declaring Sept. 15 as the commencement of National Hispanic Heritage Month.
Congress also called upon citizens to observe the month by participating in activities and ceremonies celebrating Hispanic culture. Over the years, Hispanic Heritage Month has grown to become a popular annual celebration in the U.S. and around the world.
What do the terms Hispanic and Latinx mean?
The terms Hispanic or Latinx can be confusing, and some people use them interchangeably. These terms refer to an individual’s ethnic origin or culture, regardless of race.
It is also worth noting that Sept. 15 is of great significance to many who celebrate. It is the day that Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua gained independence. Many other independence anniversaries, including those of Mexico and Chile, fall within the 30 days of Hispanic Heritage Month.
Everyday activities to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month
There are many ways to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month.
1. Support local businesses
Visit eateries in your neighborhood that serve traditional Hispanic or Latinx food. You will learn some of the local language and cuisine. Sample popular Latino foods such as:
- Galinhada, a Brazilian stew of rice with chicken.
- Peruvian fried rice.
- Empanadas de pino, Chilean turnovers filled with savory ingredients.
- Ropa vieja, shredded beef and vegetables.
You can also support Hispanic businesses by shopping for clothing, food, curios or other products from Hispanic stores near you. Shopping locally is an excellent way to help your community.
2. Read renowned books by Latinx authors
Explore Latinx culture by reading award-winning books such as “The Lesbiana’s Guide to Catholic School” by Sonora Reyes, “Dominicana” by Angie Cruz and many more.
3. Watch Spanish-language shows
Spanish-language shows including “La Casa de Las Flores,” “Monarca” or “Narcos” are an excellent way to learn the language.
4. Add Latin songs to your playlist
Music is an excellent way to savor Hispanic Heritage Month. Try adding Latino songs to your playlist to learn more about the language and culture. Some artists to try include Ozuna, Karol G, Becky G and more.
5. Enroll in dance classes
Listening to your favorite hits by Hispanic artists may not be enough. Enroll in Latin dance classes to learn more about the music and culture.
6. Join an organ donation program
Hispanic Heritage Month is an excellent time to honor life through organ and tissue donation. Sign up for Gift of Life’s organ donation program and support the 20.5% of organ transplant waiting list candidates who are Hispanic and waiting for a transplant to extend their lives. Anyone is eligible to join the program regardless of age, sex or ethnic heritage.
You can share Hispanic Heritage Month graphics, stories and social media posts provided by the Association for Multicultural Affairs in Transplantation with your community.
Why support Hispanic Heritage Month through organ donation?
The number of Hispanic people in need of organ transplants increases each day. About 22,000 Hispanic patients are on the organ transplant waiting list in the U.S. Their lives depend on the generosity of strangers.
Although interracial transplants happen every day in the United States, generally speaking the more genetically similar the donor and recipient are, the more successful the transplant will be. Due to the large number of Hispanic patients waiting for an organ transplant, more Hispanic and Latinx donors are needed to save more lives.
About 17 people die each day waiting for an organ transplant. Donating your organs to someone in dire need is an excellent way to honor Hispanic Heritage month.
A single end-of-life donor can save the lives of many people. Living organ donations such as kidneys and liver can also save a life of someone on the transplant waiting list.
- Donating your organs is an opportunity to give to others in need.
- Many people die each day waiting for an organ donor.
- There are no age limits for organ donation.
- Organ donation can be very rewarding for the donor’s family.
- Organ donation provides a legacy of love and generosity.
Who qualifies to join Gift of Life organ donation program?
Everyone is eligible to sign up on the Michigan Organ Donor Registry. Every potential donor is considered regardless of their sex, gender identity, race, ethnicity, age or religion.
Medical criteria for who can become a donor changes frequently and is based on the protocols at the time of donation. Everyone can sign up to become a donor regardless of health history, and oftentimes donors with complicated medical situations can still save lives. For instance, a disease affecting one organ does not necessarily hinder the donation of other organs. People with HIV, cancer, hepatitis, hypertension, lupus and diabetes have been able to donate organs at the end of their lives.
Sign up as a Hispanic Heritage Month organ donor!
Organ donation should top your list of activities this Hispanic Heritage Month. Signing up on the Michigan Organ Donor Registry is fast and easy. The online application process is straightforward and takes less than five minutes but could leave an indelible mark on another person’s life. Join the Michigan Donor Registry today; millions of Michiganders have done it already!
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