Fall is my absolute favorite time of year for many reasons: sweater weather, bonfires, football, and Latinx Heritage Month. Latinx Heritage Month is celebrated from September 15th through October 15th. Is one month enough? No, but that is an opinion for another post.
I knew early in life that I was of Latin descent without really understanding the importance of knowing my heritage. My mom and grandma spoke Spanish, they looked like what I thought women from Latin American countries were supposed to look like. My people hail from the countries of Puerto Rico (maternal) and Panama (paternal) specifically. This mash-up of cultures had yielded me as a Latinx with a darker complexion. As I got older and learned of distant cousins and other family members, I discovered that people from Latin countries come in a rainbow of complexions. Even after learning this fact, I struggled a great deal with my identity through the remainder of my childhood and well into my young adult years. I spent a good part of that time feeling like I was neither Latin enough to be considered Latinx or Black to be considered African American.
To compensate for not really knowing where I fit in, I challenged myself to learn all I possibly could about my heritage, through my own research and from my family. I took Spanish classes in school, the Facebook pages, and personalities I follow are filled with brilliant Latinx and African American creators, all in an effort to further educate and immerse myself in my culture. Within the last few years, I was introduced to the term “Afro-Latinx.” Afro-Latinx refers to Latin Americans of significant or mainly African ancestry.
Just like that y’all the light bulb went off in my head.
That was ME, that is how I fit in!
All the research I had done and all the information I learned about the people native to both Puerto Rico and Panama all made sense in relation to me. Being able to place the Afro-Latinx identifier on me finally made me feel like I belonged. I am enough just as I am.
I believe it is important to learn about your heritage and to share that with your littles and with your community. The more we learn about one another the more inclusive we can make our world. The more inclusive our world the better it will be.