25 Years of Hispanic Heritage Month

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25 Years of Hispanic Heritage Month

by Marisa Treviño
Publisher, Latina Lista

This year’s observance of Hispanic Heritage Month marks 25 years since the day President Lyndon Johnson officially gave the federal government’s blessing on celebrating the Latino presence in the U.S.

The year was 1968; a time in history when Latinos, while celebrating that first Hispanic Heritage Month, were also joining with their black brothers and sisters in continuing the fight for equal treatment, education and opportunities, and against discrimination and racism.

As a testament that nothing happens overnight, this silver anniversary highlights just how far Latinos have come since 1968. Latinas have especially progressed since that time and even more so in the last decade with the advent of the Internet and blogs.

If Hispanic Heritage Month raised the profile of Latinos in the country, the Internet cemented the Latina role as contributors to the social fabric of the nation.

With the Internet, there is no gatekeeper, as there is at newspapers, which have editors who filter which voices will enjoy the privilege of being heard by the masses. The Internet has flung open the doors to self-expression, and everyone is invited. It wasn’t until blogs became popular that “everyday” Latinas seized the opportunity to discover their voices and use them to speak out on issues that concerned or interested them, but that weren’t considered newsworthy enough for the mainstream press.

This is the reason I started my news website, Latina Lista, in 2004. I was one of a handful of Latina bloggers who had discovered that the nation was full of Latinas, and women, who had strong voices, who wanted to be heard and who also had an equally strong desire to read about issues that impact our neighborhoods and families.

Since 2004, more and more Latinas, from all walks of life, have been empowered to create and post their own blogs and websites on a wide range of topics — from parenting to cooking to political analysis to health. These subjects and issues motivate them to sit hunched over a keyboard with the only compensation being the satisfaction that no one can deny them the use of their voices and the dissemination of their message through the web.

In the process, something transformational happened within the Latina population: Latinas received validation that their voices mattered.

It’s the kind of validation that spurs yet more empowerment, progress and anticipation as to what the next 25 years will bring.

Marisa Treviño is the publisher of Latina Lista and the author of a Simple Start to Blogging with Social Medi@.