Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month, or Hispanic History Month, is an annual observation of the histories, cultures, and contributions of Americans with Spanish, Mexican, Caribbean, and South American heritage. It’s celebrated each year, from September 15 to October 15.
This concept was first introduced in 1968 when Lyndon Johnson designated a week to celebrate those of Hispanic/Latinx heritage, and later expanded to a month-long celebration in 1988 by Ronald Reagan.
As a small business, you can do your part to honor the Hispanic/Latinx community in your neighborhood in a multitude of ways, from implementing a bit of your social media savvy to partnering with organizations that support Latinx communities. Read on to learn more.
Why It’s Important to Support Hispanic/Latinx-Owned Businesses in the United States
According to a report from NBC News, Hispanic/Latinx-owned businesses are growing in a big way, increasing by 34% over the last 10 years in industries like construction, finance, insurance, transportation, and real estate. In fact, there are 4.37 million Latinx-owned businesses in the U.S.
However, Hispanic/Latinx small business owners are still struggling to acquire loans from national banks. In fact, compared to 50% of white-owned businesses, only 20% of Hispanic/Latinx-owned enterprises that applied for loans over $100,000 were approved for funding.
This discrepancy is largely due to the chronicled economic and educational inequities experienced by the Hispanic/Latinx community in the United States, which have largely been shaped by federal immigrant regulations and quotas.
Despite it all, Hispanics/Latinxs are starting businesses at a faster rate than other demographics in certain industries. As a small business owner, you can help to expedite this growth.
How Your Businesses Can Support Hispanic/Latinx History month
If you’re looking to support the Hispanic/Latinx community and Hispanic/Latinx small business owners, there are numerous ways to show meaningful support, both indirectly and directly—but always with action.
#1 Educate Yourself
Showing support starts with education. Consider the words Hispanic and Latinx, for example. How we use them matters, both in business exchanges and in everyday conversation. Learning the difference between the two terms is a way for small businesses to show their commitment to being a culturally sensitive corporation:
- Hispanic – Hispanic refers to individuals whose cultures speak Spanish, such as Spain. All descendants from Spanish-speaking populations may identify as Hispanic, but not all Hispanics are necessarily Latinx.
- Latinx – Latinx refers to those with cultural heritage in Latin American countries. The “X” in Latinx is an inclusive, gender-neutral term. However, it’s difficult to pronounce in Spanish, so many Spanish speakers opt for “Latine” as a replacement.
Oftentimes, these groups will differ on their preference for which terms they identify with most, which is influenced by age, location, and heritage. When working with or speaking to someone of these descents, show that you care by asking how they identify and what terms they prefer.
#2 Donate to Hispanic/Latinx Organizations
The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged many small businesses. However, if your business is still floating above the water or even thriving with a bit of money to spare, you can contribute some of your profit to an organization that supports and fights for Hispanic/Latinx rights. Some trusted organizations to consider include:
- Hispanic Heritage Foundation
- NALEO Educational Fund
- Grassroots Latino
- Unido US
- TransLatin@ Coalition
- Latino Equity Alliance
Additionally, you can donate a portion of your monthly proceeds to these organizations. Highlight a few products that are eligible or include your entire store. Either way, make the promotion known to customers with social media posts, posters, and other public announcements that draw customers to your doors.
#3 Sponsor Hispanic/Latinx Small Businesses
Consider sponsoring a Hispanic/Latinx-owned business in your community. Monetarily contributing to their business can help to combat systematic economic inequalities that many Hispanic/Latinx business owners face. Additionally, you can help connect these business owners to the neighborhood network to facilitate more growth and opportunities for your neighbors.
Some Hispanic/Latinx business owners may face language barriers as well. As such, consider sponsoring an English class or creating a community event in which business owners and consumers alike can practice their skills and build connections. Remember, Hispanic/Latinx business owners know first and foremost what their business needs. So, ask them how you can help.
#4 Partner with Hispanic/Latinx Small Businesses
In the same vein, consider partnering with fellow small business owners for a month-long promotion or celebration of Hispanic/Latinx History Month. You can also consider hosting an event, such as a block party, in which local businesses can gather with their neighbors to celebrate the month and share their products and services.
Or you can take it to the larger community. For example, in 2018 AT&T’s Hispanic/Latinx employee resource group, HACEMOS, partnered with Latinas in Tech to create student mentoring events that encourage more Hispanic/Latinx students to enter the STEM field.
You can also consider hosting additional Hispanic/Latinx History Month events with your neighbors, including:
- Cultural nights
- Educational forums
- Food tastings
#5 Buy Hispanic/Latinx Goods and Services
Sometimes it’s as simple as swiping your credit card. Throughout the month, show your support by visiting local Hispanic/Latinx businesses. Whether you’re gobbling up a sweet corn tamale or enlisting the services of a Hispanic/Latinx vendor for your business needs, you can support and uplift your community throughout History month, and beyond.
#6 Support Hispanic/Latinx History Month on Social Media
Consider supporting the Hispanic/Latinx community in your neighborhood by enlisting the help of social media. In 2020, it was found that there were 3.96 billion active social media users worldwide—that’s a considerable platform.
With the kickoff on September 15, 2021, share your values and propositions with your customers on platforms like:
Using your business’s social media profile to support your community gives you an opportunity to make a real change. But how exactly can you show your support through your online platforms?
- Educate – Shed light on the inequalities and challenges Hispanic/Latinx communities face using reputable sources and advocates within the arena.
- Encourage – Embolden your followers to participate in Hispanic/Latinx History Month by donating to local organizations or buying from neighborhood Hispanic/Latinx shops.
- Diversify – Make your marketing more inclusive. As a business owner, you are consistently sharing your values and messages with customers who interact with your content, whether it’s conscious or not. Welcome, advocate, and defend individuals of all backgrounds, ethnicities, and identities by crafting content that acknowledges diversity.
- Amplify – Share the voices of Hispanic/Latinx content creators, advocates, creatives, and business owners on your account pages.
- Advocate – Take action to make a positive and sustainable change within your community, whether your business decides to share impactful Hispanic/Latinx literature, nurture relationships with Hispanic/Latinx leaders, or support a specific cause.
Need some social media inspiration? Look to graphic artist, Valheria Rocha, for examples. For Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month, Rocha showcased her skills as an artist while also paying homage to Walter Mercado (from Ponce, Puerto Rico) for his contributions to the world of acting, dancing, and astrology.
Consider the unique skills your team has and work together to create a post that celebrates the Hispanic/Latinx community in a memorable and distinctive way.
#7 Tune into Hispanic/Latinx Creations and Contributions
Support local and national Hispanic/Latinx artists, creators, and advocates by attending cultural events, seminars, and exhibits.
Check local listings for nearby events that highlight the work of Hispanic/Latinx or indigenous creatives. For example, the Movimiento de Arte y Cultura Latino Americana in San Jose, California hosts a variety of community programs that emphasize multicultural arts and social equity.
Additionally, the Latinx in Media & Arts Coalition (LIMA) connects Hispanic/Latinx artists across various industries and elevates their creations. They also work in advocacy and youth development, and partner with organizations and community members to promote professional inclusivity within the media landscape.
As a small business owner, consider partnering with a cultural organization or simply support their initiatives by donating to the cause and amplifying their messages on your business’s social media page.
Connect with Your Hispanic/Latinx Neighbors with Nextdoor
To make a meaningful difference within your community, you must make a meaningful impact on the individuals impacted by your initiatives. To connect with your local Hispanic/Latinx community, consider Nextdoor.
Claim your free Business Page and build relationships with local customers and other local businesses, as well as source feedback on your Hispanic/Latinx History Month contributions.
NBC News. Over half of eligible Latinos voted in 2020 — a historic first. https://www.nbcnews.com/news/latino/half-eligible-latinos-voted-2020-historic-first-rcna899
BackLinko. Social Network Usage & Growth Statistics: How Many People Use Social Media in 2021? https://backlinko.com/social-media-users
Graduate School of Stanford Business. 2020 State of Latino Entrepreneurship. https://www.gsb.stanford.edu/faculty-research/publications/state-latino-entrepreneurship-2020
Salud America! Latinos Power the U.S. Economy to a Better Future. https://salud-america.org/latinos-economy-us-growth-future/
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