In the United States, cultural celebrations like these matter greatly because they help better explain the stories and histories of each ethnic culture. These cultural celebrations provide the opportunity to recognize the complexities and richness of each cultural identity. It is important to understand and appreciate these stories within the greater American narrative.
Why are heritage months important?
Heritage month celebrations are important in providing the space to teach and learn about cultural history, and also to examine the way in which these cultures are viewed within American discourse. It is important to celebrate cultural heritages and to examine how these groups are continually oppressed and marginalized in society. We should look more closely at how we view groups and subgroups in this country, and what place they have at the table. We must explore the important questions: How are we learning about heritage and culture? How do we interact with people that have different heritages and cultures from our own?
As the demographics of the United States shifts, it is important to frame the way we understand “American” identity. Hispanic/Latino Americans, African Americans, Asian Americans, and Native Americans all shape American identity and collectively make up American history. While there are designated heritage month celebrations, our hope is to continue to acknowledge the contributions made by all groups of people in the United States throughout the year, not just during the heritage month celebrations.