Editorial Note: A Multitude of Voices, One Community
For Latinos living in the United States, some important dates are coming up: between September 15 and October 15 we celebrate our cultures during Hispanic Heritage Month. This celebration was instituted in 1968 by President Lyndon Johnson. At first it was a week dedicated to celebrating the contributions of Spanish-speaking immigrants to the US. Gradually the celebration grew stronger, until in 1988 President Ronald Reagan signed a bill extending it to an entire month, thus establishing Hispanic Heritage Month.
Since its inception, this celebration has aimed to build connections with- in the Latino community, and to bring it closer to other communities living in the United States. It has also sought to break the stereotypes about Hispanics, by pointing with pride to Latino writers, visual artists, entrepreneurs, academics, athletes, scientists, film stars and politicians who have excelled in this nation.
With the celebrations almost at our doorstep, these questions become imminent: What does it mean to be Lati- no in Alaska? What do Latinos living in the Last Frontier keep of our ancestors’ culture and how have we adapt- ed it to our own enclave in the United States? The answers are complex and differ from person to person. Some will speak from their positions as community activists, some will raise their voices as artists, some will make their way in sports, and others will seek influence as entrepreneurs. Although we surely share common traits in our identity, there are many ways to be Latino. And it is precisely this range of identities that is one of the greatest strengths of our community.
Sol de Medianoche seeks to acknowledge this multitude of voices, and that is why this edition addresses such diverse fields of interest. Celebrating this diversity has always been important to us. Yet in these election times that have sown hatred against Hispanics, we find remembering our plurality even more essential. And those who fall into the trap of discrimination do so because they see stereotypes and not true human beings, because they feel threatened by differences and because they believe there is a battle to fight. Here is the news: human beings are more fascinating than stereotypes; differences enrich our way of seeing the world; and nobody here is at war. The best that we can do in order to contribute to this country surely involves learning the value of our individuality and knitting community ties from that which makes us unique.
At Sol de Medianoche we wanted to walk this road of interconnection within our own community and to the outside as well. Between the publication of our first issue and this one, we met with public and private institutions to find ways to collaborate. These meetings include the Mayor’s Office, the Police Department, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the School District. We hope that the benefits of these sessions are already apparent in this issue and that they continue to inform editions to come. We hope you enjoy reading about the richness of our Latino diversity in them, and we welcome you to celebrate the joy of Hispanic Heritage Month with us.
We would also invite you to share a bit of your world with us, because communication should be a two way street. We want to construct a horizontal community in which we can all see each other eye to eye. And this also includes our readers. We are eager to listen to your messages at firstname.lastname@example.org.
PROUDLY POWERED BY SOL DE MEDIANOCHE CO. Sol de Medianoche is a bimonthly publication of the Latino community in Anchorage, Alaska