Celebrating Latinx and Hispanic Heritage Month

In celebration of Latinx and Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 - October 15), the Library EDI Committee presents this curated list of films, media, and literature to highlight the rich diversity and impactful contributions of Hispanic and Latinx/e/a/o communities on American culture, society, and the world over.

Why is Latinx and Hispanic Heritage Month celebrated September 15 - October 15?

  • September 15 was chosen as the starting date as it marks the historical anniversary of independence of 5 Central American countries from Spain including Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Honduras.
  • The month-long celebration also coincides with the national independence days of Mexico (Sep 16), Chile (Sep 18th), Belize (Sep 21), and Puerto Rico (Sep 23)

No matter the choice of word(s) an individual or group uses to describe their heritage, we acknowledge the unique cultural differences among all Spanish-speaking countries along with the many distinct cultures throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. Allowing one another the space to listen, learn about, share conversations, and celebrate one's heritage is an essential step to recognizing the intrinsic value of all cultures that make up the American fabric. 

We encourage you to explore the films within this guide and share/reflect with others using the additional research and learning resources provided for many of the selections.

Sharing Differences

In this brief overview, UC Berkley researcher Cristina Mora examines the origins of the words Hispanic, Latino, and Latinx and points to the larger socio-economic impacts of how these terms are used and adopted by different societies.

(1) What's the difference between Hispanic, Latino and Latinx? - YouTube

It is important to recognize that people of Latin American, Caribbean, Spanish, and Portuguese descent in the United States are not a monolith. No one term can ever fully capture the diversity of identities, ethnicities, nationalities, races, and experiences which are grouped under terms like "Latinx," "Latine," Latino/a," "Hispanic," and "Hispanic-American." Use of these words is contextual and situational.

The very desire for one all-encompassing term to describe this diverse mix of people comes from academic, governmental, activist, and economic impulses and strategies to identify labels for groups--despite the fact that many individuals within those groups do not use or prefer to describe themselves with those terms. 

Here are some essential keywords and nuances to keep in mind while exploring the sources within this guide, and conducting further research: 

Latino, Latina, Latin@

Commonly used adjectives in books, book chapters, articles, and mass media that allow gender binaries of masculine (o), feminine (a) and masculine/feminine (@). Latino as an adjective reflects the acceptance of the -o ending in Spanish to describe a group of people that includes men; men and women; or as a default when gender is not specified. Latin@ is used to encompass masculine and feminine.

Latinx, Latine 

Latinx and Latine originated as categories by and for transgender and gender-diverse individuals. They have come into wider use as a form of rejecting masculine/feminine gender binaries when labeling a group that encompasses diverse gender identities. Latine is a more recent development than Latinx that reflects a preference to use the "e" rather than the "x" because it is easier to pronounce in speech. Both tend to be used in progressive and activist-leaning publications, whether academic or popular/ mass media. At present, you are more likely to find Latinx in academic publications and databases than Latine.


Term used by the U.S. Government to collect census data, thus a common keyword in demography, politics and media. It is also a term that many use to self-identify, along with the Spanish hispana/o.

Hispanic Americans

Key term to use when looking for books, since this continues to be the standard Library of Congress subject heading used to catalog books about Latines in the United States.

Chicano, Chicana,  Chicanx, Chicane

Refers to Mexican-Americans, particularly in relation to activist movements of the 20th century

Mexican-American, Mexican Americans

Cuban-American, Cuban-Americans

Venezuelan-American, Venezuelan-Americans 


Hyphenated nationalities are commonly used across publications and in Library of Congress subject headings.

Puerto Rican, Puerto Ricans

Commonly used across publications, including Library of Congress subject headings. Also try boricua, which may appear in titles and texts, but not subject headings.

Cubans - United States

Mexicans - United States

Venezuelans - United States

Colombians - United States 


Try subject searches for nationality AND United States when looking for academic resources.

Afro-Latino, Afro-Latina, Afro-Latinx, Afro-Latine

Terms used to describe people of both African and Latin American descent. Not a Library of Congress subject heading. 

African-American, African-Americans

Library of Congress subject heading that may be used in combination with others for books about Afro-Latines, e.g. African-Americans AND Hispanic-Americans.

Black, Blacks

Library of Congress subject heading that may be used in combination with others for books about Afro-Latines, e.g. Blacks AND Hispanic-Americans, Blacks AND Colombia, Blacks AND Brazil...


To Find a Way

Openly sharing one's family heritage and history with others takes a great deal of courage. Many families who have made the difficult decision of leaving their homeland to live in another country face tremendous pressures to assimilate and leave behind the original customs and traditions of their ancestors.

This insightful and personal testimonial below by Itzel Martinez, a UC Berkley alum and graduate in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, chronicles the many obstacles she and her family experienced immigrating to the United States from Oaxaca, Mexico. 

(1) A Dreamer's Journey | Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month Exclusive - YouTube

Shifting the Lens

Raquél Peréz, a first generation bachelor's degree recipient and member of the Latinx community, discusses the social barriers and prejudiced views perpetuated by the ethnic stereotyping of Latin Americans in film, television, and the media. 

(1) Representation Matters: Latinx in Mainstream Media | Raquél Peréz | TEDxURI - YouTube


Fabric of Diversity

Fernanda Ponce's 2017 TED talk examines how identity-based stereotypes hinder the potential for a deeper understanding of the unique depth, diversity, and long-running history of Latinx/e/a/o and Hispanic communities in America. 

What Being Hispanic and Latinx Means in the United States | Fernanda Ponce | TEDxDeerfield - YouTube

The films suggested here explore the critical contributions Hispanic and Latin American communities have made to the history and multicultural fabric of the United States.

Other recommended movies:


Featured Readings


Bird of Paradise by Raquel Cepeda

ISBN: 9781451635867

Publication Date: 2013-03-05

In 2009, Raquel Cepeda embarked on an exploration of her genealogy using ancestral DNA testing to uncover the truth about her family and the tapestry of races and ethnicities that came together in an ambiguous mix in her features, resulting in "a beautiful story of reconciliation and redemption" (Huffington Post) with her identity and what it means to be Latina. Digging through memories long buried, Cepeda journeyed not only into her ancestry but also into her own history.


The King of Adobe (ebook) by Lorena Oropeza

ISBN: 9781469653297

Publication Date: 2019-09-09

In 1967, Reies Lopez Tijerina led an armed takeover of a New Mexico courthouse in the name of land rights for disenfranchised Spanish-speaking locals. The small-scale raid surprisingly thrust Tijerina and his cause into the national spotlight, catalyzing an entire generation of activists. The actions of Tijerina and his group, the Alianza Federal de Mercedes (the Federal Alliance of Land Grants), demanded that Americans attend to an overlooked part of the country's history: the United States was an aggressive empire that had conquered and colonized the Southwest and subsequently wrenched land away from border people--Mexicans and Native Americans alike.


Wright in Arizona: the early works of Pedro E. Guerrero by Bernard M. Boyle; Frank Lloyd Wright (Featuring)

ISBN: 1884320147

Publication Date: 1996-01-01

A selection of photographs from the Pedro E. Guerrero Collection in the Architecture and Environmental Design Library, Arizona State University


Finding Latinx by Paola Ramos

ISBN: 1984899090

Publication Date: 2020-10-20

Debut author and journalist Paola Ramos travels to near and far corners of the country in search of Latin-X voices that illustrate a growing movement and represent a community of young Latinos that hold more political, social, and cultural relevance today than ever before Latinos are the youngest demographic in the country, with an estimated 32.5 million millennials and Gen Zers across the country. Ten out of six Latinos are millennials or younger and, every single year, one million Latinos turn eighteen. Latin-X- How a New Movement is Changing the Country will take millions of young Latinos-including the author herself-on a journey of self-discovery and empowerment, shedding light on the voices that have been brewing yet overlooked for years. From Afro-Latinos to Trans-Latinos, border town Latinos to the young Cuban-Americans in Miami, this book will give life to the cryptic term 'Latin-X'.


Everyday violence against Black and Latinx LGBT communities (ebook) by Brooks, Siobhan

ISBN: 9781498575768

Publication Date: 2021

In Everyday Violence against Black and Latinx LGBT Communities, Siobhan Brooks illustrates that hate crimes and violence against Black and Latinx LGBT people are the product of institutions and ideologies that exist both outside and inside of Black and Latinx communities.


Latinx Superheroes in Mainstream Comics by Frederick Luis Aldama; John Jennings (Foreword by); Javier Hernandez (Afterword by)

ISBN: 9780816537082

Publication Date: 2017-10-10

Latinx Superheroes in Mainstream Comics offers the first thorough exploration of Latino/a superheroes in mainstream comic books, TV shows, and movies


Latinx TV in the Twenty-First Century by Frederick Luis Aldama (Editor)

ISBN: 9780816545018

Publication Date: 2022-04-19

Latinx TV in the Twenty-First Century offers an expansive and critical look at contemporary TV by and about U.S. Latinx communities. This volume unpacks the negative implications of older representation and celebrates the progress of new representation all while recognizing that television still has a long way to go.


Latinx Literature Unbound (ebook) by Ralph E. Rodriguez

ISBN: 9780823279234

Publication Date: 2018-05-08

Since the 1990s, there has been unparalleled growth in the literary output from an ever more diverse group of Latinx writers. Extant criticism, however, has yet to catch up with the diversity of writers we label Latinx and the range of themes about which they write. Little sustained scholarly attention has been paid, moreover, to the very category under which we group this literature. Latinx Literature Unbound, thus, begins with a fundamental question "What does it mean to label a work of literature or an entire corpus of literature Latinx?"


Abstract Barrios by Johana Londoño

ISBN: 9781478008798

Publication Date: 2020-09-25

ABSTRACT BARRIOS centers the Latinx barrio-a spatially bound community formation within the city center or its edges-as the site of both public crises and inspiration. Throughout the twentieth century-as discriminatory policies in the labor and housing markets, as well as urban renewal policies, created forced concentrations of racialized populations within city centers-the barrio came to be seen, in the dominant public imagination, as a poor, working-class, and racialized space. At the same time, the barrio, particularly as a result of Chicanx and Puerto Rican activism in the 1960s and 1970s, emerged as a place of political, artistic, and cultural importance for Latinxs in America. Johana Londoño investigates what happens when the barrio is abstracted by cultural mediators-or "brokers"-for large-scale public architecture as a means of making the barrio palatable for white Americans who view concentrated areas of Latinx populations as a crisis.

Sor Juana by Ilan Stavans

ISBN: 9780816536078

Publication Date: 2018-09-18

The book focuses on Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz as a popular icon who symbolized tolerance, pluralism, feminism, and Chicana identity in Latinx culture and literature; it also provides a brief biographical background and discussion of her writing.