When commemorating a culture, most people probably think about what they can see and experience themselves, from the food to the music to the language. Hispanic Heritage Month is not an exception to this as there is so much to appreciate in Hispanic culture, especially during this month which also observes the independence of many Spanish-speaking countries in Latin America. All this is valuable, and to me, recognizing what most people don’t see, the foundation of our culture, the triumphs, and efforts of Hispanics all over North and South America and the Caribbean, makes this month even more significant.
Hispanic Heritage Month is an opportunity to recognize the hardworking people in my family and community. Especially being the first generation in my family to be born in the United States, I can’t say I have gone through the same struggles as my parents and ancestors, and yet I have seen firsthand the battles of an immigrant family seeking so-called “better opportunities” in a completely unknown country. I’ve seen their resilience, grit, and love in every struggle they have tackled which is a common theme I see in Hispanic people all over Latin America. Hence, I believe that the most valuable quality in Hispanic people is that we are determined to create a promising future for ourselves, our families, our community, and generations to come regardless of the cost. In the words of civil rights activist Cesar Chavez, “We cannot seek achievement for ourselves and forget about progress and prosperity for our community.” This is what the celebration of Hispanic Heritage should be about, even beyond this month, recognizing the need for and persisting to create a more unified and prospering community while valuing who we are, what we have, and always “echandole ganas,” a way of saying to work hard despite difficult situations.