How TPN Staff Celebrate Latinx/Hispanic Heritage Month
National Latinx/Hispanic Heritage Month is from September 15 to October 15. TPN is celebrating by sharing stories from some of our staff about what this month means to them.
Cristina Diaz, Bilingual Family Advocate, Center for Family Success:
The Latinx/Hispanic Heritage Month is a reminder of my roots, not forgetting where I came from. Being a Latina means to be proud of my culture, language, food, and the beautiful people. Being a Latina is so special to me because family is valued so much.
I remember that when I was little I was taught to always be friendly to people. To say hello, even if we didn’t know them. It meant being polite and respectful. Not being scared to work at a job that other people didn’t want to take. Lots of love from the Abuelita. I celebrate with lots of food, love and stories to my children so that they know their roots and be proud of.
Lulu Y Sánchez Obispo, Operations Coordinator, Center for Family Success:
In Mexico, many family and friends gather on the night of September 15 to receive midnight, just like New Year’s Eve. Pozole, Menudo, Enchiladas, Mole, and other traditional dishes are prepared and served to diners.
Mexican flags hang in public and private spaces and many people dress in traditional garb and play traditional music.
In the Zocalo, the central square of Mexico City, a great celebration of Independence Day is celebrated during the afternoon and evening of September 15. Fireworks and musical performances take place throughout the night, and around 11 a.m., the President of the Republic and his family come out onto the presidential balcony to shout. Not only is Hidalgo’s original cry recreated, but also new characters in the history of Mexico are celebrated who have contributed to the history of the country. The president closes his participation with shouts of “Long live Mexico!”
Proud to be Mexicana!!
Sandra Acosta Casillas, Contracts and Performance Manager:
I am Mexican born in Tonaya Jalisco, my children are the first generation born here in the US. I am very PROUD of my culture, traditions, and roots from being born in Mexico.
For me to be able to come at the age of 9 I had to leave all that I knew behind. I was allowed a few items of clothing and nothing else. Arriving in the US I had to start over with a new language, culture, and ideas. We adapted some of our own into life in the US but it can never be the same.
In my motherland people say hello to each other as they pass by, they sit outside their doors to chat and enjoy the quiet with their loved ones, not many have TV or phones taking their attention, stories are told, and enjoying each other is a norm. The land is warm and giving. Most grow their own crops and share with each other by using the trading system and a handshake is a contract for most. Material stuff is not as important as it is here in the US. Many work very hard with very little pay but they are still happy to have a job and many work in the same job for a large portion of their lives.
They have a plaza where people sit and chat and enjoy the view, the youth walk around it and if they find love they get to walk around holding hands. Religion is the base of my hometown. They have mass almost daily prayer and faith is a root of our upbringing traditions of baptism, confirmation, first communion, and marriage. The Plaza is also the place used for celebrations for the town or funerals for members of the community. Everyone gathers and pays respects and joins families for 9 days of prayer and grieving together.
That is a long story but I want to paint a picture of what my motherland is like and how we try to do the same here with each other to make us feel more at home. It means the world to me to have others that I can speak Spanish to because it comes more natural and I don’t have to think too hard of words that are correct in the way I am using them. I love to have meals with my family, for our children to grow and build strong bonds with each other, blood related or not. We listen to music that makes us dance or cry. We eat food that fills us up but can be made in large amounts with not a lot of cost.
I appreciate that September is the month we celebrate because it’s the month we celebrate the Independence War we fought where women joined the fight (not sure if it was the first war women fought or not but I know they helped). This is a BIG deal because to this day women still don’t hold the same value as men but during the war, they were all equal.
Hispanic heritage is much like your culture and traditions I am sure of it and I try to celebrate it every chance I have.