I am from Costa Rica and Argentina but I was born here in New Jersey. Answering the question “what does hispanic heritage month mean to me” was difficult to answer because I never thought about it. To be honest, I don’t feel culturally connected to my respective countries except when it comes to the family, food, and language. I live in a Hispanic community, so to me there’s nothing new when it comes down to having just a month of recognition.
As I started to do some research over what the month specifically highlights, I got answers such as celebrating history, culture, and recognizing contributions but I feel that these things are celebrated even when it’s not Hispanic Heritage Month through the little actions in life. Some of these actions include learning a country’s history/a fun fact, reading a Hispanic author’s novel, sharing the language with friends and family. There is so much to be proud of after seeing how far we’ve come whether it be within family (for example, being a first-generation student) or as a group (another example would be being in government ranking positions). This made me think that because of the lack of knowledge due to lack of attention on my part, we can take this month to educate ourselves if we haven’t done so already, and inform others that there’s so much more that we celebrate and recognize that doesn’t fit into a month long period.
As the first Latino poet laureate of the United States Juan Felipe Herrera said, “My voice is made by everyone’s voices.”