Hispanic Heritage Month (HHM) is upon us! Starting September 15 through October 15, we celebrate and recognize the contributions and vital presence of both Hispanics and Latinos in the United States. It’s a time when we observe heritage, language and the different ways culture has helped shape the America of today, but with so many nations being represented, you have to admit that the term Hispanic is very limiting and outdated, but the good intention is still there. There is great variety of ethnicities, customs, traditions, and art forms (music, literature, dress, culture, cuisine, and others) that differ by country and region, but one thing remains the same, the values shared among the different cultures such as family, love and perseverance unites us all.
Having migrated myself from Nicaragua at age 17, I didn’t understand why there was a month to celebrate Hispanic heritage if we lived it every day. As I quickly became part of the many communities within my hometown of Los Angeles, I realized that the U.S. was a melting pot of so many nations, and celebrating my heritage gave me a sense of belonging while keeping me connected to my Nicaraguan roots. Now as a wife and a mom of a 2 year old, more than ever I take this time to pass down traditions to my daughter Nova Blue, who is first generation American-Latina!
Over time I also noticed something unique about HHM celebration. Not only are we passing down culture, we are also passing along the unique family stories of immigration, adaptation, struggle, resilience and perseverance experienced when coming to the U.S. I wasn’t easy for me to adapt to a system where social security, credit scores, background checks and the perceived dominance of a specific race were the main components of a nation. That didn’t stop me or other Hispanic/Latinos from paving our own way in the land of opportunities! Hard work, not giving up and the importance of education were concepts I was very familiar with and although it took me long years to finally pay my own way through college and gain work experience, I am proudly part of the American life that allows me to have a great job, become friends with people that help and inspire me and support The Orphaned Earring.
Hispanic Heritage Month means passing down my Nicaraguan culture and traditions to Nova Blue, but it also means passing down the stories struggles, heartaches, victories and perseverance that I wear like badges of honor, and teach her that we can proudly be Hispanic/Latinos and still be 100 percent American.
In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, support local organizations that help keep your heritage present or help you stay connected with home. In addition to our work with The Orphaned Earring, we're also supporting Amigos de Nicaragua as a way to help our beloved country that is going through a tough political time.