As Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month commences (Sept. 15 to Oct. 15), a few things need to be addressed. This month is a time to commemorate our history and culture along with our influences on the United States. It’s very important that we remember who we are, where our families came from, and what we bring to the table as individuals.
Do not forget the blood, sweat and tears that our parents, grandparents, or possibly great grandparents sacrificed in order to give us the opportunities that we have here. Honor them, honor everything that they’ve done and be proud of your heritage.
It is painful to see my peers erase a part of their identity at school due to our surrounding environment. There is no shame in being proud of and recognizing your roots. Do not allow your surroundings to dictate the way you act around your peers out of fear of being different; our differences are what make us unique individuals.
It’s a hard thing to rid yourself of a whole aspect of your personality and nobody should ever have to do that. Although some situations might feel uncomfortable, always remember that you have every right to speak up for yourself and correct the situation for your best interest.
It’s important to focus on our parents’ native tongue as well. Don’t erase the Spanish language out of a feeling of shame; there is no shame in speaking a second language. It’s actually a beautiful thing to be able to speak another language; we have the ability to communicate with a larger population, and we have the capability to help other people in a way that some cannot. Speak proudly and remember where our language came from. Remember, say your name the way it’s said at home, roll your r’s, and correct people if they say your name incorrectly.
The variety of cultures in the Latino community is truly fascinating and it’s important to highlight our community’s greatest accomplishments, leaders, and unique aspects. We have Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, astronaut Ellen Ochoa, and civil rights activist Cesar Chavez among other leaders that have affected our community. Although there may be disagreements with some of their beliefs, it cannot be denied that they have created great strides for the Latino community. Our food, music, and overall cultures are appreciated by others, so this gives us an even bigger reason to celebrate who we are and what we do. Oftentimes it feels like we are grouped together under one label, but it must be understood that there are so many different cultures under the “Latinx/Hispanic Umbrella.” Each deserves to have its own recognition, especially during this month.
Be proud of who you are and where you come from and know that you are worth something. Celebrate your roots and embrace every aspect of your identity.