5 Ways to Affirm Students’ Identities During Latinx Heritage Month

Creating a strong sense of belonging and safety in the school community is deeper than just acknowledging diversity. It’s about seeing each student for who they are. It’s about affirming students’ unique identities and celebrating cultural knowledge.

We’re in the middle of Latinx Heritage Month (Sept. 15-Oct. 15), when we recognize and honor Latinx and Hispanic history and culture. Turnaround for Children honors the contributions and cultures of Latinx people in the U.S.

We’ve curated a selection of resources to help you affirm the unique identities of Hispanic and Latinx students, encourage all students to learn about and celebrate Latinx and Hispanic heritage, and get to know all your students better.

1. Unmaking “Hispanic:” Teaching the Creation of Hispanic Identity

This resource from Learning for Justice focuses on breaking down the diverse range of cultures, nationalities, histories, and identities that the term “Hispanic” encompasses and understanding the history behind the shifting definitions of these identities.

2. Lesson of the Day: ‘Does Hispanic Heritage Month Need a Rebrand?’

This lesson from the New York Times Learning Network asks you and your students to think critically about the history of, and issues with, the way Hispanic and Latinx communities are represented and honored.

3. Google Arts & Culture: Latino Cultures in the US

This collection of articles, videos, and photographs of different facets of Hispanic culture ensures you and your students can take a deep dive into an area of arts, entertainment, or history that inspires you.

4. Identidad y Fronteras: Borders and Identity

This bilingual educational resource is based on research and documentation from the 1993 Smithsonian Folklife Festival explores cultures and identities from the U.S.-Mexico border and asks students to investigate their own identities and cultures.

5. Deeper than Icebreakers: Activities to Know Your Students

These three activities (Community Walk, Shadow-A-Student Day, and Student Spotlight) are useful for getting to know all your students and can help educators who are doing the active work to more deeply understand the identities, cultures, and experiences of their students, from a place of openness, respect, and empathy.

Educators can use celebrations like Latinx Heritage Month and the resources we’ve shared to have conversations about culture and heritage and not only affirm their students’ identities, but affirm their humanity and build deep, meaningful relationships.