Hispanic Heritage Month is a controversial topic. As we’ve previously discussed, many Latinxs criticize it because it feels more like a marketing ploy. But that’s not to say we can’t learn from it and appreciate some of the genuine attempts to highlight our culture. PBS is leading the charge with a slate of programming aimed at honoring Latinx “heritage and culture.”
The programing kicks off September 13 with the premiere of the emotionally charged documentary Raul Julia: The World’s a Stage. This doc, presented as part of the American Masters series, will teach you plenty about the Puerto Rican actor. (Here are just five reasons you should check it out.)
Each subsequent Friday will see a new presentation, including The Pushouts, the story of Victor Rios, a high school dropout and former gang member who works to help young people “pushed out” of school. PBS will also air Adios Amor – The Search for Maria Moreno, which documents the life of forgotten farmworker rights activist Maria Moreno. Porvenir, Texas examines the 1918 massacre of 15 Mexican men in the titular border town and the events leading up to it.
The series will wrap up on Monday, October 7 with the feature América. The film looks at the life of a young man named Diego, who’s forced to return to his hometown in Mexico to care for his ailing grandmother after his father is imprisoned for elder abuse.
All the programming will be available on PBS.org, PBS’ online apps and on-demand programming through various cable providers. The slate looks utterly amazing and diverse, both in characterizations and narrative structure. There’s something for everybody and should do a lot to make Hispanic Heritage Month feel less like a gimmick and more like living history.