By Fabian Camacho
When I think about “Hispanic Heritage,” my mind automatically goes back to my upbringing. I was born and raised in a town mostly populated by Mexican people. Several people in my hometown, including my parents, came from Mexico. I grew up celebrating the same cultures and traditions. Family, music, and of course, the food are just a few of the many factors that make our culture so unique. I also celebrate my parents and their respective stories.
My mother and her family immigrated to the United States from Durango when she was just a toddler. In her early teens, she was met with hostility from locals just because she wasn’t white and they assumed she didn’t speak English. Even with those circumstances, she has never taken flak from anyone and is the most persona chingona I have ever known. She is skilled in so many fields and can do practically everything.
My father left rural Oaxaca on his own at thirteen years old. He came from poverty and wanted a better life. During this time, he was a migrant agricultural worker. It was competitive, but he pulled through. He has always been a laborer, and so it warms my heart to see him able to reach a point when he can relax and enjoy the simpler things in life.
I didn’t really celebrate or acknowledge Hispanic Heritage Month until I left for college. Coming from a place full of Hispanic people, we didn’t really need a month to celebrate our culture because that very culture was the norm. When I came to McPherson, it was quite the culture shock because it’s mostly Caucasian here. More than ever did I miss the loud corridos booming from my dad’s sound system, or the delicious food my mom would make. “White-People-Tacos” are good, but they are far from authentic. The efforts made by the community to try and emulate that culture is much appreciated, but I don’t think it will ever be truly captured.
Hispanic Heritage Month takes place from Sept. 15 thru Oct. 15. The reason it takes place in the middle of two months is because many Latin American countries celebrate their independence and other significant dates during this time. That is what makes this time of the year so beautiful. Though I speak from the perspective of someone with a Mexican upbringing, there are so many other countries and peoples in Latin America- each with their own unique cultures and traditions. We may all have different upbringings, but this month is for us to celebrate that which makes our cultures so vibrant and unique.