With September comes Hispanic Heritage Month, a time when the United States celebrates the culture, history, and influence of Latinx Americans. From documentaries to sitcoms, there is plenty of creative and informative content out there that can help you commemorate the month. So, if you are looking for something to watch, here are seven movies and TV shows to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month.
This year marks the 30th annual celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month — Sept. 15 through Oct. 15 — which first started under President Ronald Reagan in 1988. The observance initially began under President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1968, but was limited to just one week. In 1988, President Reagan expanded the celebration to one month. The date, Sept. 15 honors the independence anniversary for countries including Nicaragua, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Honduras and Guatemala, with countries like Mexico and Chile celebrating their independence a few days later.
PBS is airing Hispanic Heritage content all month long, and streamers like Netflix and Amazon have plenty of relevant movies in their catalog as well. Whether you're in the mood for something informative, heartwarming, or just plain fun, here is a list of TV and films to help you celebrate this month.
1. The Hispanic Heritage Awards
To commemorate Hispanic Heritage Month, President Reagan created The Hispanic Heritage Awards — an awards ceremony that honors Latinx people who have enriched the culture and community through education, business, politics, art, and innovation. This year’s honorees include Ingrid Hoffmann, Richard "Crazy Legs" Colón, MJ Rodriguez, Jesse & Joy, Daniel Lubetzky, and Sister Norma Pimentel. There will also be a some notable musical performances from artists like Fat Joe, Fonseca, and Giselle Blondet.
The 31st Annual Hispanic Heritage Awards airs Friday, Sept. 28, at 10 p.m. ET on PBS.
2. Cesar Chavez
In Cesar Chavez, Michael Peña portrays one of the most influential civil rights and labor activists in America. After organizing 50,000 farm workers in California, Chavez fought for their right to earn a living wage. His commitment to his community led to a lasting change in the system, and the film covers his journey in becoming an American hero.
Cesar Chavez wasn’t alone in his fight to help farm workers. Dolores follows the story of Dolores Huerta, a civil rights activist and labor leader who co-founded the United Farm Workers Association with Chavez. The documentary tells the story of a feminist who fought for social rights for labor workers and won.
4. Jane The Virgin
The CW series, Jane the Virgin, follows the life of a Venezuelan-American woman, Jane Gloriana Villanueva. She's a religious, hard-working young woman, but when she discovers she is a pregnant virgin, her life gets complicated.
5. Under the Same Moon - La Misma Luna
La Misma Luna or Under The Same Moon is a Spanish-English language film that follows a young boy from Mexico and his mother, who illegally immigrated to the United States. The two set out on a challenging journey to find each other, and despite the hardships they face, they both find solace in knowing that they’re sleeping under the same moon.
Ixcanul is a Mayan-language film that tells the story of 17-year-old Maria (María Mercedes Coroy), a Mayan girl who lives on the slopes of an active Guatemalan volcano. With hopes of moving to the modern world, she tries to escape her arranged marriage and follow her crush to the United States, in hopes of having a better life. The film provides an inside look into this indigenous Guatemalan community, painting a picture of their life and culture living among the volcanoes of Guatemala.
7. Stolen Education
While Brown vs. Board of Education was a step forward in granting equal rights to education, the Latin American communities in the 1950’s were still facing discrimination in schools. Stolen Education is a documentary film that tells the lesser-known story of Latin American school children who fought for their right to go to school in the South.
With all the cultural and political polarization this country is facing, it's important to recognize that there are over 57 million people of Latinx heritage in the U.S., and their contributions have made America greater. So, if you're looking for something to watch to celebrate your own Latinx heritage, or you're just hoping to learn more about the culture, this list is a good place to start.