Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month: Si Se Puede!
By R. Mundial, a student
Hispanic Heritage Month grants us the opportunity to bring awareness to the impact of the Hispanic community across the United States. Today, I’d like to present on the way that Hispanics and the Latinx community have been portrayed within our mainstream society, and on the aspects of la cultura that should and must be continued to be brought to the forefront of our attention during this month, and every day beyond it.
Anti-immigrant sentiments have fueled much of the narrative regarding Hispanics in the United States. Harsh and demeaning stereotypes include portraying Hispanic women as fiery-tempered and “exotic”; every Hispanic has gone through the experience of having to respond to the exclamation, “But you speak English so well!”–regardless of whether the conversation was related to English fluency and regardless of whether they were born in Santo Domingo or Boise, Idaho. I have been at the receiving end of comments implying I was a drug mule since my family comes from Central America.
To those that identify with the Hispanic community, celebrating this month in genuine and culturally responsive ways allows Latinos to feel comfortable with a major part of their own personal identities–one that can often be discounted as a cheap party favor for Cinco de Mayo. #IAmForChange because we all deserve to feel seen. It allows us to feel seen as more than just a voting bloc, and it allows us to feel as an integrated aspect of American culture, since we all aspire for the United States to be like a quilt, each patch unique and integrated into the greater whole. At the end of the day, Hispanic heritage is undeniably intertwined with American heritage, and it is incumbent upon all of us, and especially those responsible for the education of our community, to be cognizant of this and move forward.
This all goes back to the fundamental question that NA For Change has posed over the past year: how can we make everyone within district spaces, and within the broader community, feel comfortable, seen, and aware of others–something we should all be considering, especially considering who the victims of these divisive times are.
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