National Latina Day: Celebrating Strength, Heritage, and Influence

a photo of three latina women making fun poses

National Latina Day is a day of celebration and recognition dedicated to honoring the contributions and achievements of Latinas in various sectors of society, from arts and culture to politics and business. On this day, the rich cultural heritage, resilience, and trailblazing spirit of Latina women are brought to the forefront, and communities unite to pay homage to their legacy.


How did National Latina Day Start?

The roots of National Latina Day can be traced back to 2015 after Texas-based Dolores “Loli” Alvarez Castilla created a Facebook page to empower Latinas. Over time, as the Latina community expanded its influence in the U.S. and around the world, it became evident that there was a pressing need to have a day dedicated to the celebration and amplification of the myriad of achievements and stories of Latina women.

In an interview with blogger April Monterrosa, Castilla says her message about the day is simple, “It is time for us to stand up and be counted for all that we are and all of our accomplishments. It is time to change the mindset of people that we are just loud women with attitudes.”

As the designated day made the rounds, Latinas everywhere began to share their experiences, achievements, and pride as Latinas. National Latina Day was born, and it’s been celebrated every year on August 20 since then, with red as the official color of the day.

Why Celebrate Latina Day?

In an era where Latinas frequently grapple with cultural stereotypes, National Latina Day serves as a powerful counter-narrative. Instead of subscribing to broad-brushed notions, this day thrusts the spotlight on individual stories that epitomize grit, intelligence, and resilience, effectively shattering age-old stereotypes.

This celebration paves the way for the future. The young Latina generation, looking ahead, now finds itself surrounded by a diverse range of role models. Be it the groundbreaking work of scientists or the mesmerizing creations of artists, the horizons have expanded, allowing these young minds to dream beyond traditional confines and outdated cultural expectations.

At its heart, National Latina Day is also a celebration of culture. Latinas stand as the proud bearers of an intricate cultural tapestry. From the rhythmic cadences of the Caribbean to the deeply-rooted traditions of South America, they play a pivotal role in enriching the American and global cultural landscape.

Lastly, this day is synonymous with unity. It's an amalgamation of shared narratives, mutual respect, and a collective sense of pride. Latinas and the broader community converge in a spirited celebration, fostering an environment of community and collaboration.

Latina Day ATX Weekend

Since 2015, Austin, Texas, has been bustling with activity every August 20. Founder, Bessy Martinez, was inspired by the Latina Day spirit where Latinas could unabashedly express their pride and be celebrated for the immense societal impact they wield in a space all their own. She created Latina Day ATX Weekend, which embodies her mission to help share stories of Latinas far and wide while creating an atmosphere of mutual support and empowerment. From a humble beginning with a few panel discussions, it has grown into a sell-out event requiring bigger facilities every year.

Latina Day events aren’t limited to the Austin area - National Latina Day events are sprouting everywhere. Find an event near you or online.

National Latina Day is more than just a day; it's a movement. A movement that seeks to recognize the past, celebrate the present, and inspire the future. It’s a testament to the strength, beauty, and indomitable spirit of Latina women. As Latinas mark this day, they are honoring the stories of the countless Latinas who have paved the way, those who are shaping our present, and those who are undoubtedly creating a brighter future.

Women in Texas at the National Women's March, rallying against deadly abortion restrictions.
Lucy Flores

The landscape of abortion rights in the United States has become more restrictive than ever in recent history, particularly in Arizona and Florida, where recent developments represent a major setback for women’s reproductive rights. On April 9, the Arizona Supreme Court ruled in a 4-to-2 decision to uphold an 1864 law banning abortion from the moment of conception. The only exception is saving the mother’s life, but there are no exceptions for rape or incest under this law.

Just a few days earlier, on April 1, the Florida Supreme Court also ruled in favor of upholding a 6-week abortion ban, which will take effect on May 1. This further reduced the legal threshold for abortions in Florida, which used to be 24 weeks of pregnancy before Republicans passed a law in 2022 banning abortions after 15 weeks. Both of these rulings have sparked intense debate and outrage about their impact on women’s rights.

Overview of the Near-Total Abortion Ban in Arizona

The Arizona Supreme Court voted to uphold an 1864 law, a law passed even before the state officially was a part of the United States of America, that makes all types of abortion illegal, including medication abortion, from the moment of conception. Though there are exceptions in cases where the mother’s life is at risk, the ban makes no exceptions for cases of rape or incest and imposes severe penalties, including imprisonment, on medical professionals performing abortions.

Medical professionals have spoken out about how dire the situation will become for women with this near-total abortion ban. Dr. Jill Gibson, chief medical director of Planned Parenthood in Arizona, told CNN that this ruling will have “absolutely unbelievable consequences for the patients in our community.” She continued by saying, “Providers need to be able to take care of their patients without fear of legal repercussions and criminalization.”

Representatives from Arizona and other states across the country have also spoken up against this near-total abortion ban.

Video by Shontel Brown Member of the United States House of Representatives on InstagramVideo by Shontel Brown Member of the United States House of Representatives on Instagram


Image by Rub\u00e9n Gallego Member of the United States House of Representatives on InstagramImage by Rubén Gallego Member of the United States House of Representatives on InstagramImage by Rubén Gallego Member of the United States House of Representatives on Instagram

Until this Arizona Supreme Court decision, abortion had been legal in the state up to 15 weeks of pregnancy. The right to abortion via Roe v. Wade prevented the enforcement of the near-total abortion ban, but since a majority vote in the Supreme Court of the United States overturned Roe, those opposed to abortion rights had been fighting to enforce the 160-year-old 1864 law.

This new abortion ban in Arizona is not effective immediately as the court has paused its ruling for 14 days until additional arguments are heard in a lower court about how constitutional the law is. However, the law will likely come into effect in May, a few weeks from now. Planned Parenthood Arizona, the largest abortion provider in the state, will continue serving the community until the ban is enforced.

An Overview of Florida's Six-Week Abortion Ban

The landscape of abortion in Florida has also undergone a significant change with the enforcement of a 6-week abortion ban, replacing the previous 15-week limit. This ban, similar to Arizona's, severely restricts access to abortion care and poses a significant challenge to reproductive rights in the state. Providers are bracing for a public health crisis due to the increased demand for abortion and limited options for patients.

Practically speaking, a 6-week abortion ban is a near-total abortion ban because pregnant people often don’t even realize they could be pregnant by this early stage. Combined with Florida’s strict abortion requirements, which include mandatory in-person doctor visits with a 24-hour waiting period, it’s nearly impossible for those who may want an abortion to be able to access it before 6 weeks. Not to mention that fulfilling the requirements is particularly challenging for low-income individuals.

Video by theluncheonlawyer on InstagramVideo by theluncheonlawyer on Instagram

Moreover, this Florida law also restricts telemedicine for abortion and requires that medication be provided in person, effectively eliminating mail-order options for abortion pills. While exceptions for rape and incest exist in Florida, the requirements are also strict, asking victims to provide police records or medical records. For victims who don’t always report sexual violence for many different reasons, these exceptions don’t make a difference.

The consequences of Florida’s ban extend to neighboring states with more restrictive abortion laws. For instance, residents of Alabama, facing a total ban on abortion, and Georgia, with its own 6-week abortion ban, have relied on Florida for abortion services. That will no longer be an option, further limiting care alternatives.

The Road Ahead

These recent abortion bans in Arizona and Florida are a major setback for women's rights, particularly impacting Latina women who already face barriers to accessing quality healthcare. These bans not only restrict women’s reproductive freedom but also endanger their lives.

Efforts to challenge these bans through legal means and ballot measures are ongoing, but the road ahead is uncertain. While there’s hope for overturning these abortion bans, the challenges of conservative laws and legal battles are formidable. The November ballot in both states will be crucial in determining the future of abortion rights and access for all.

graphic design highlighting Dolores Huerta 94 birthday, the iconic civil rights activist and labor leader.

Today, Dolores Huerta, one of the most important Latino icons within civil rights, is turning 94 years old. This occasion is the perfect opportunity to celebrate not only her robust life but also her immense contributions as a social justice champion. Huerta is a living legend whose tireless efforts have helped transform the landscape of civil rights, feminism, labor rights, farmworkers’ rights, and even environmental justice.

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