Ways to Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month on Long Island

By: Miya Jones
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Hispanic Heritage Month began as a way to observe Hispanic culture and traditions. Starting as a week in 1968 under President Lyndon B. Johnson, it was extended to 30 days in 1988 under President Ronald Reagan. Here are a few things Long Island residents can partake in during the annual month-long celebration to honor and embrace the culture.

Patronize Hispanic-owned businesses.

A Hispanic woman with apron hold gin the door open
📸: Getty Images/andresr

Supporting Latino-owned businesses is a simple way to help families and the community overall. Whether it’s going out to eat or ordering from a local restaurant, receiving legal advice or you’re looking to buy a new home, you can look to a Hispanic-owned business this month and hopefully going forward.

Panache Gifts is a gifting service that prepares handcrafted gifts that anyone can deliver to a loved one. Panache supports local small businesses in the US by including their products within customized gift boxes. Another local business is a restaurant that started as the lil Caboose in 1994. It has now transformed into Oaxaca Mexican Restaurant almost 30 years later. Located in East Northport, the local establishment serves authentic Mexican food. Their menu includes spicy fajitas tacos, savory rice and bean buritos and sweet churros. Open Hands Tax Consultants is another local Latin-owned business. Owned by Jose Vargas, this service located in the Mastic area will assist you with all your tax return preparation and planning needs.

You can find more local Hispanic-owned businesses in our directory.

Listen to, watch or consume Latino-curated content.

Supporting content curated by Hispanic creators is a great way to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month. It can be a show, podcast, publication or art. Tune into documentaries or docuseries like ABC’s “The Latin Music Revolution,” which touches on the roots of Latin music and its future. Or watch “Paper Children,” an hour-long documentary directed by Emmy-nominated Cuban-American filmmaker Alexandra Codina. The film captures the experience of a Honduran family fleeing from violence and seeking asylum.

Also, look into Hispanic history makers like Myrtle Gonzalez, one of the first Latina movie stars who starred in at least 78 silent era motion pictures from 1913 to 1917. There is also Luis Buñuel. The Spanish Canadian-born director made movies starting in the silent era of the 1920s and into the 1970s. His content, like frequent collaborator and painter Salvador Dalí, included surrealism. You can also consume content right here on Long Island at Muñeca Arthouse in Patchogue. Founded by local Latin creative Jessica Valentin, this art gallery often features other local artists of Hispanic descent.

Checking out any of this content is a good way to observe the month, delve into the culture and maybe get hooked on some new shows.

Check out local events.

There are plenty of events to go to on Long Island that celebrate the culture, promote great networking opportunities and provide festive entertainment.

The Long Island Hispanic Chamber of Commerce will be hosting their 35-Year Anniversary Gala and Awards on Nov. 11 at the Hilton in Melville. The elegant evening will have a 1940s Casablanca vibe and celebrate 35 years of service to the Long Island community. Colored Colors, an arts and events organization, is throwing their Second Annual Latin Heritage Festival on Oct. 14 at The Art League of Long Island in Dix Hills. The event will see a host of different vendors and artists gathered together to honor Latin culture. If you’re looking for something a little different, Touro Law College will be hosting a Hispanic Heritage Month Legal Panel. During this free seminar, Hispanic legal experts will be giving their take on the law, what they do and how they can assist others.

For more great events taking place, feel free to see our events calendar.

Support organizations that help the community.

📸: OLA of Eastern Long Island Facebook page

As mentioned, the Long Island Hispanic Chamber of Commerce has served Suffolk and Nassau County for about 29 years. The nonprofit would be a great organization to donate to, as they strive to help local business owners advance professionally and financially through networking events and informative workshops. They also honor members of the organization for their achievements in business through events like the Latina Hat Luncheon and the aforementioned anniversary gala.

The Hispanic Counselor Center‘s mission is to aid families through bilingual and bicultural counseling, prevention, vocational and educational services. With this, their goal is to enrich the lives, foster economic independence for and nurture the dreams of families and generations to come on the island. Donating to this nonprofit can help the organization continue to aid the community through their treatment and prevention services for mental illness, substance use disorder and youth and family services.

OLA of Eastern Long Island, Inc. (Organización Latino Americana) is a not-for-profit based in the East End, in East Hampton, Southampton, Riverhead, Southold, and Shelter Island. Their purpose is to create equity for Latino immigrants by advocating for policies in schools and within the government, ensuring equal access to healthcare, donating to those in need, promoting creatives in the arts community and more. Supporting this charity monetarily would also be a good way to support the community.

Money isn’t the only route. Volunteer for a position at any of these organizations, or give your time a few days per month. However and in whatever capacity you may choose to participate, this is another great way to honor the month.

Whether its supporting a local Latin-owned business, attending a Latin-owned gallery, or consuming Latin-created content, there are a multitude of ways to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month while exploring something new.

Miya Jones

Miya Jones

Miya Jones is a Long Island native and the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Shades of Long Island. She's been a journalist since the age of 17 and is a diversity advocate. Follow Miya on Instagram and Twitter: @miyajones1996 and on Facebook as Miya Jones.

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