September 15 to October 15 is National Hispanic Heritage Month which celebrates the long history and rich cultures of the nearly 62 million people who make up the Hispanic and Latinx communities in the United States. The impact of the Hispanic and Latinx population on the economy, history, and culture of this country cannot be celebrated without appreciating the diverse heritage and countries of origin including Mexico, Spain, as well as two dozen nations in Central and South America and the Caribbean.
Today, we hear from a local leader in our community who helps equip girls in the Girl Scouts community:
By Brittany Pyatt, assistant program director, Girl Scouts of Northwestern Great Lakes
When it comes to youth–representation matters! That’s why Girl Scouts of Northwestern Great Lakes is celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month and all of our Latina sisters with our new, bilingual Latinas Making History program, thanks to a grant from the Bright Idea Fund from within the Community Foundation.
In the program, we honor influential Latinas in the arts, entertainment, media, STEM, government, and advocacy. Girls discover the contributions of icons like Selena, advocates like Dolores Huerta, culture creators like Frida Kahlo, and so many more. They connect the roots of those contributions to the diversity of Latinidad through food, holidays, the arts, and science.
Girls end the program by taking action to uplift Latinx histories, cultures, and identities by sharing what they learned, attending community events, supporting Latinx-owned/led business and nonprofits, and advocating for broader recognition of Hispanic Heritage Month.
Here is an essay from Alyiah, a 14-year-old Afro Latinx Girl Scout member:
“When I mention Hispanic Heritage Month, oftentimes I am met with the question of ‘What does that mean?’ I would continue to respond by telling them that it is a month dedicated to Hispanic/Latinx heritage. Now I know that this means much more than that. It is a time to mourn death, sadness, and oppression. It is a time to celebrate life, art, and progress.
This month is to help us remember the lives that have impacted our world, and honor those who will continue to do so in the future. Young children don’t get a lot of good Hispanic representation within the media, but during this month we have an opportunity to educate them about their uniqueness, and teach them to embrace it. If we do this, and teach non-Hispanic children how to honor the culture, then maybe our community will grow to feel like a more comfortable environment.
In the Girl Scout Law, we promise to be fair, friendly, helpful, considerate, caring, responsible for what we say and do, respectful to ourselves and others, make the world a better place, and be a sister to every Girl Scout.
In order to maintain those aspects of the Girl Scout Law, I believe that it is important for our members to be informed about Latinx heritage.
When Girl Scouts take time out of their schedule to learn about Hispanic culture, they are being friendly, considerate, caring, and sisterly to each other because they are working to honor and understand the aspects of life that Hispanic people experience. When they learn about the struggles that Latinx people continue to face as well as how they can help end the cycle of oppression, the Girl Scouts are being fair, helpful, responsible for what they say and do, and making the world a better place.
Some may say that our members are too young to learn about this but age doesn’t stop young Latinas from experiencing it. If these children are Girl Scouts, they are resilient, kind, and strive to make the world a better place and to me, this patch sounds like a perfect opportunity for these girls to do so.”
Our Bright Idea Fund preserves and enhances the quality of life in Calumet, Outagamie, Shawano and Waupaca counties and the Neenah-Menasha area of Winnebago County by awarding grants to charitable organizations working to make a difference in their communities. Want to help bright ideas burn even brighter? Learn how to get involved as a donor, or learn how to apply for a Bright Idea grant as a nonprofit organization.