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How to Celebrate Latinx Heritage Month in your Congregation and Community

Updated: Sep 25, 2021

September 15 - October 15, 2021 is National Latinx Heritage Month in the United States. Sometimes we come to these celebratory months unsure how to celebrate or what to do. This blog post comes from a conversation I had with Rev. Hazel Salazar-Davidson, Assistant to the Bishop for Authentic Diversity, Inclusive Community and Service, and in partnership with the Southwest California Synod.


These celebrative months are meant to provide us with space to take a moment to pause and engage with words, art, music and other work as we appreciate the diversity of the world intentionally. As a Synod, this year we’d like to see how we can engage authentically with the gifts of specific communities, especially during these celebrative months.


How can we come to the dinner table or to the pews of our church and talk about this authentically? How can we encourage people outside of these specific identities to engage in these gifts without co-opting them?


Because of this Synod-wide commitment, we have decided to make lists every month highlighting books, music, podcasts, are and more that help individuals appreciate identities outside of their own and engage with this work during these celebrative months.


Here is the list the Southwest California Synod and Sierra Pacific Synod have developed for Latinx Heritage Month:


Books/ Theologians


Gustavo Gutiérrez, a Peruvian philosopher, Catholic theologian, and Dominican priest, is often thought of as a Latin American Liberation Theologist. A Theology of Liberation: History, Politics, Salvation is one of his most well-known pieces of writing and serves as one of the foundational pieces of work for liberation theology.


Cláudio Carvalhaes, a native Brazilian and Associate Professor of Worship at Union Theological Seminary, identifies as an earth thinker, theologian, liturgist, activist and much more. Some of his publications include, Liturgies from Below: Praying with People at the Ends of the World, Praying with Every Heart: Orienting our Lives to the Wholeness of the World, and Eucharist and Globalization. More on Carvalhaes can be found here.


Marcella Maria Althaus-Reid, a latina feminist liberation theologian, was a Professor of Contextual Theology and a Minister in the Methodist Church of Argentina. Her published books Indecent Theology and The Queer God elevated her name in theological conversations and coined the term “queer theory” for years to come.


Podcasts

Yeah No, I'm Not Ok

Dianne Guerrero, a latina actress best known for her work in Netflix’s Orange is the New Black, hosts a Podcast on NPR centered around mental health, particularly in communities of color. These conversations, while not clinical advice, offer fellow guests of color space to unpack the mental health struggles they’ve encountered throughout their lives. Listen to the podcast here.


Tres Cuentos

Carolina Quiroga-Stultz, a colombian bilingual storyteller, hosts a bilingual podcast that shares traditional narratives of Latin America. “It explores the myths, legends, and folktales that are told in the Hispanic, Indigenous, and Afro-Latin American world,” and features different Latinx guests each week. Learn more and listen here.


Latinx Therapy

Adriana Alejandre, a guatemalan-mexican and podcast host, launched this podcast after encountering her own mental health difficulties and the lack of resources for folk in the Latinx community. Alejandre brings Latinx mental health professionals and doctors onto the podcast to discuss mental health and provide a safe place for the Latinx community to engage in these conversations. We invite you to learn more and listen here.


Music


Natalia Lafourcade, born in Mexico City, is a pop-rock and folk singer and songwriter and continues to be one of the most well-known and successful artists in Latin America. She has released countless albums since her debut in 2002, “Natalia Lafourcade”, “Casa” and “Un Canto por México”.

Norma Monserrat Bustamante Laferte, a Chilean artist, began releasing music in the early 2000s and has since received multiple nominations for a Latin Grammy and hosted the MTV Millenial Awards in Mexico City.

Julieta Venegas Percevault, a latina singer, songwriter and producer, has won five Latin Grammy Awards and one Grammy Award during her tenure as a musician. She is most well-known for her album Limón y Sal and has released eight albums to this date.


Artists


Samuel Lind, a Puetro Rican native, uses a wide array of techniques to portray cultural and natural scenes he’s surrounded by. “Lind has always felt enriched by the beauty of our natural surroundings. His universal message calls us to pause and reflect about the changes that are happening in our world.” His work can be viewed here.

Natalia Gallego, a Colombian artist known as Gleo, is best known for her vibrant mural work found across the world. In 2018, she set the world record for the largest mural painted by a single artist, painting at 50,000 square-foot mural called “The Original Dream” in Wichita, Kansas.


Roberto Lugo, of puerto-rican descent, “uses porcelain as his medium of choice, illuminating its aristocratic surface with imagery of poverty, inequality, and social and racial injustice. Their hand-painted surfaces feature classic decorative patterns and motifs combined with elements of modern urban graffiti and portraits of individuals whose faces are historically absent on this type of luxury item - people like Sojourner Truth, Dr. Cornel West, and The Notorious BIG.” You can learn more about Lugo here.

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