Culture

Here Are Five Ways To Honor Mexican Independence Day

Lead Photo: Art by Stephany Torres for Remezcla
Art by Stephany Torres for Remezcla

Part of a long revolution in Mexico, September 16 marks the day in 1810 when the country’s fight to wrestle its people from control of the Spaniards reached a historic zenith. Father Hidalgo, a Catholic priest, was the movement’s leader: Ringing a Dolores church bell late that night, he called the people to revolt, and his subsequent speech before the townspeople gathered at the church is known now as El Grito, or El Grito de Dolores—The Cry of Dolores.

Mexican Independence wasn’t won on this day; leaders rotated, battles were lost, many died in the process and again, this was a marathon, not a sprint. So the day is celebrated as a new dawn, accompanied by feelings of hope, and the energy of autonomy, of positive change.

How will you honor this day? Downing a margarita isn’t it, obviously. We’ve compiled a list of suggestions to commemorate this important moment in ways that support its legacy of betterment for all Mexican people.

Learn

This is your first step. Many non-Mexican Latines don’t know the details of Mexico’s Independence Day, or its history in general, for that matter. We urge you to educate yourself on the past, but also the present and future, both for Mexican and indigenous people in the country itself, the U.S., and the diaspora.

An important issue to begin your journey is that of femicides: Eleven women are killed daily in Mexico. Another is the fight for environmental justice, and the activists, many of them indigenous peoples, who are attacked or killed because of their work.

Spend Dollars at a Local Mexican-Owned Business

We are in the middle of a pandemic, yes, but we also know you’re ordering food to go and online shopping. Commit your money today to a Mexican-owned shop or restaurant, or any other business you know benefits Mexican or indigenous folks. (Regarding the restaurants, avoid Uber Eats, Postmates and the like, and instead opt for delivery or pick-up to better serve your mission.)

Sign Up for Monthly Donations

Have you heard of Muchacha Fanzine? It’s a Native Xicana project, a feminist and anti-colonialist effort that provides education, directives for action, and so much more. Follow them and, if you can swing it monetarily, become a Patreon supporter.

There are loads more options to choose from, of course. The point here is that if you sign up for a monthly donation to an activism-centered project or organization, whether it’s $10 or $5 or just a buck, you’re providing not only immediate support, but also buttressing its long-term ambitions. Knowing that next month’s financial support is locked in already is a game-changer in planning for the future.

Get Involved with Social Movements

The International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs is a good place to start; RAICES is another, and also Mijente. If donating funds isn’t an option, find out if you can donate your time.

Support Mexican and Indigenous Art and Entertainment

There are so many ways to do this: digital downloads from independent musicians on Bandcamp, buying works from independent artists, renting films, and buying books.

Remember, if you can’t afford to spend dollars right now, sharing and promoting all of the above is another way to support. And beyond socials, you can also talk directly with a friend or family member, particularly someone who is not Mexican and is unfamiliar with the significance of Mexican Independence Day, about what you’ve learned and how you’ve chosen to commemorate the day.