Wednesday, Sept. 15 marked the start of National Hispanic Heritage Month, a time when many people recognize and honor the history, heritage and social contributions of Latin Americans, Latine populations and Hispanic culture. Over the 30-day period from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, commemorators spend time recognizing the anniversaries of independence of multiple Latine, Caribbean and Hispanic countries. In the wake of a long, tumultuous year, the theme for 2021 is “Esperanza: A Celebration of Hispanic Heritage and Hope.”

What does this month mean to you? How are you commemorating Hispanic, Latine and Latin American culture and history?

Sarah Mayorga

Prof. Sarah Mayorga, PhD (SOC)

Every day is a day to celebrate Latinx heritage! I’m incredibly proud to be Nicaraguan American and a Latinx faculty member here at Brandeis. As a professor, Latinx experiences and perspectives are central to my research agenda and teaching interests. This semester I’m teaching a brand new course called “Latinx Sociology” where we not only center the complex, multilayered experiences of Latinx peoples, but we center the expertise of Latinx scholars who are marginalized in academia. As part of our classwork, we’re building a digital archive of student-created podcast episodes on topics within Latinx sociology that students are passionate about. These include colorism, policing, immigration, family and queer Latinx experiences. These episodes will be shared with the broader Brandeis community later this year and stored on the library’s website so that all of us can engage with and think about Latinx communities year-round. Co-creating that legacy with students for the broader Brandeis community fuels me with hope and pride this month and beyond.

Sarah Mayorga is an Associate Professor of Sociology in the Latin American and Latino Studies department. She lectures in race and racism, urban sociology, Latinx sociology, whiteness studies and qualitative methods.