Why I Celebrate Multiracial Heritage Week
By: Sonya Colattur
Last year, Arizona became the 20th state in the nation to recognize Multiracial Heritage Week from June 7-14. Securing a proclamation declaring Multiracial Heritage Week from then-Governor Doug Ducey.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, from 2010 to 2020, the multiracial population (those who self-identify as being of mixed race or of more than one race) increased by 276%. While there are several contributing factors to this increase to be explored in another blog, one thing is certain: the Multiracial Community is claiming our space in American society and as such, the recognition of Multiracial Heritage Week in Arizona validates our existence, recognizes our community and fills us with pride. This year, newly elected Governor Katie Hobbs reaffirmed Multiracial Heritage Week in Arizona through her own proclamation and further solidified the progress made by multiracial advocacy groups such as The Color of Us.
While Multiracial Heritage Week is a time to celebrate, it is also a reminder to me of the work that is still needed to create a more inclusive Arizona. Presently, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, Arizona is home to more than 20 hate groups, including a statewide chapter of the Proud Boys. The Arizona Department of Education's Office of Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity has been shut down and the state-sponsored “Empower Hotline,” gives state citizens the power to report concerns against Critical Race Theory being taught in schools. This new approach is based on newly elected Arizona School Superintendent Tom Horne who has openly stated that “race is irrelevant.”
Race is not irrelevant to me, it’s central to who I am as a person, my identity, and my experiences. Despite the challenges that continue to exist, the week of June 7-14 in Arizona fills me with optimism and hope. It’s worth celebrating that we got here, to this moment, and it’s worth celebrating the momentum that has been created because of that. As we continue to fight for a better Arizona we will keep using our voices and sharing our stories.