September 15th marks the first day of Hispanic Heritage Month in the U.S., but it is also the beginning of a week-long series of independence day celebrations throughout the Americas. Since 1968, the United States has joined many Latin American countries in celebrating independence from Spain and Great Britain.
Central America—Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua— celebrates independence day on Sept 15, followed by Mexico on Sept 16. Chile celebrates its independence on the 18th, followed by Belize on the 21st.
In Long Beach, the Latinx influence is made clear by its population. As the largest racial demographic, Latinx people represent almost 45% of the city’s residents. The city of Long Beach has begun the process of creating a Latino Cultural Center as an effort to support and strengthen the community, but the project is still in its early stages.
In the meantime, the Long Beach Latinx community continues to celebrate its roots. To celebrate, we suggest starting with one of the local events listed below. If you would like to support a Latinx-owned business, start your search with Bixby Knolls’ Hispanic Heritage Month business guide, found here.
For the kids: Vida Latina at Long Beach Public Library. As part of Hispanic Heritage Month, the Long Beach Public Library will be hosting a variety of in-person and virtual events. The series of events include Loteria Night, Cuentos y Cantos, and a Selena party. View the list of events here, or contact your local library for information. All events are free, but registration is required.
- Event information: Vida Latina Brochure
- Event time: Saturday September 18, 2021 2:00pm-4:00pm
- Reservations: Event calendar
- Address: Various Long Beach library locations
- COVID-19 requirements: Masks required for in-person events
For the family: Baja Splash Cultural Event at the Aquarium of the Pacific. The two-day event will celebrate Mexican and Central American cultures with live music, dance performances, and more. Access to the festival is included with the purchase of admission to the aquarium. Reservations required.
- Event Information: Aquarium of the Pacific website
- Event time: Saturday October 2 and Sunday October 3 from 9:00am to 5:00pm
- Reservations: Aquarium of the Pacific website
- Address: Aquarium of the Pacific 100 Aquarium Way, Long Beach 90802
- COVID-19 requirements: Masks required for all guests ages 2 or older indoors and outdoors. Masks required regardless of vaccination status. More info here.
For the adults: Brown-ish at the Laugh Factory Long Beach. After a long hiatus, the Laugh Factory is open again. Jesus Trejo—a Long Beach native—and five other Latinx comedians will take the stage at the 18-and-over Brown-ish comedy night. Two drink minimum requirement.
- Event Information: Laugh Factory website
- Event time: Thursday September 30 at 8:00pm
- Reservations: Buy tickets here
- Address: Laugh Factory Long Beach 151 S Pine Ave, Long Beach 90802
- COVID-19 requirements: Must follow county guidelines (Must wear mask unless actively eating or drinking)
For the LGBTQ community: CORTOS: LatinX Queer Shorts. The QFilm Festival is the oldest film festival in Long Beach and the only festival that showcases LGBTQ stories. The festival is back for in-person showing this year, starting with an outdoor showing at the Museum of Latin American Art. The showing will feature four short films, two in Spanish and two in Portuguese. $10 for students/seniors, $15 for general admission. All proceeds benefit the LGBTQ Center Long Beach.
- Event Information: QFilm Festival website
- Event time: Thursday September 30 at 7:00pm
- Reservations: Buy tickets for this showing here
- Address: Museum of Latin American Art 628 Alamitos Ave, Long Beach 90802
- COVID-19 requirements: Must be fully vaccinated to attend. Masks required for all.
QFilm Festival trailer: https://vimeo.com/594985015
For the history buffs: Chinese Mexicans and Mexicanidad. The Museum of Latin American Art will be hosting this Zoom event led by Dr. Fredy Gonzalez. The lecture will discuss Chinese migration to Mexico during the 20th century, and the contributions made to Mexican culture by the Chinese. The event is free, registration is required to receive the Zoom event information.