A Moment for Mission
“After calling the crowd together with his disciples, Jesus said to them, ‘All who want to come after me must say no to themselves, take up their cross, and follow me.’” —Mark 8:34, CEB
Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15–Oct. 15) is a reason to celebrate.
I celebrate our resilience as a people. I celebrate our collective accomplishments. More Hispanics have pursued degrees and graduated with higher education than ever before. Hispanic-owned companies have doubled the growth rate of all businesses across the U.S. Hispanics also had the largest homeownership gain of any ethnic group in the United States.
I celebrate the cultural impact our presence has in the U.S., with more people than ever before listening to Latin music, greater Hispanic representation in pop culture, and TV series and movies telling Hispanic stories with Hispanic actors playing heroes rather than villains.
And we can’t forget the food. Most notably, Mexican food has become a staple of this country and can be found almost everywhere. If you are fortunate to live in a diverse community, you can easily see the influence of Central, South American and Caribbean food in local cuisine.
I celebrate the social and economic contributions we bring to this nation. The Hispanic population of this country is around 52 million people, making us 16.7 percent of the total national population. We contribute more than $700 billion to the U.S. economy every year, and account for $2.3 trillion in economic activity.
I celebrate that our presence continues to grow and am excited for the 2020 Census results. This month, I celebrate that we will have a brighter future in the United States of America.
Loving God, during Hispanic Heritage Month and throughout the year, we celebrate the diversity and gifts of the Hispanics in our churches and communities. In your name, we pray. Amen.
From Discipleship Resources: Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost – Loving God, Jesus taught us “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” We offer our gifts to you knowing they are part of our treasure, and we do so with the hope that our hearts, our actions, and the words of our tongues will likewise follow. We acknowledge that the tongues that praise you are often the ones that hurt you, when we use them to diminish or discount one of your precious children. Guide our hearts, minds, and tongues to the words that bring you joy. In Christ’s name, we pray. Amen. (James 3:1-12)
Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15-Oct. 15) began in 1968 under President Lyndon Johnson and was originally Hispanic Heritage Week. Twenty years later, President Ronald Reagan extended the celebration to a full month. It’s a dedicated time for the United States to celebrate the history and cultures of Hispanics of Mexican, Spanish, Central and South American, and Caribbean descent in our nation.
I celebrate the diversity within my own Hispanic community. Often, Hispanics are lumped together as one uniform group, perhaps because the majority of us have a certain look and speak Spanish. However, we have incredible diversity. The Hispanic community in the U.S. comprises 20 different countries of origin, each with its own history and culture. We are multicultural and proud of it.
The best way to celebrate is to learn about the history of Hispanics in this country, the struggles they have faced and the injustices they still experience and to gain awareness and advocate for a better future for all.
Adapted from “Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month amidst Everything,” Michelle Maldonado, director of Seeker Advertising and Communications, United Methodist Communications, 2020. Used by permission.