Hispanic Heritage Month presents an opportunity to direct the nation’s attention towards the contributions of the Latino community to the society of the United States. On that note, many people in the city talked about this, giving us an overall view of how the community feels about that celebration.
Maria del Carmen Araujo, a woman of Mexican origin who is employed by First National Bank: “I don't think we only remember everything what us Latinos do in this country because nowadays the Latino culture is an integral part of the culture of the United States and you can see this everywhere.
Jairo Gomez, a Walgreen's employee: "I'm Mexican and my parents taught me that I should feel proud of my origins. When I was little, I was a bit ashamed, but as I grew up, I realized that we Latinos have a lot to be proud of and this is why I think it's great there is a month to celebrate us."
Paty Thomas, a special education teacher of Colombian origin: "The Latino population in the United States is the largest minority group in the country. We are 18 percent of all population, so it is fair that we have a month dedicated to Latinos. I teach my daughter about everything there is to love about Colombia, of Latin America, and especially in this country."
Josue Garcia, a United States veteran of Mexican origin: "There's currently over one million Latinos registered in the Military Forces of the United States. I served this country, and there are over one million Latino veterans. Our support has been very important, and we have helped to make this a great nation. This is why we all must happily celebrate this month that should also serve as a reminder of the cultural diversity of this nation."
Maria Gomez and her family have more precise information because she's a teacher at Omaha Public Schools (OPD): "There is a law authorized by Congress by which it is required that the President issues an annual decree for the National Hispanic Heritage Month. At first, it was only a single week of celebration, but it has changed and now it is a celebration of Spain, Mexico and of Spanish-speaking countries in Central America, South America, and the Caribbean."
Constanza Figueroa and her daughter Camila: Nicaragua is the land of their ancestors and is also something that makes them feel proud of being Latinas. "I always tell my daughter that she shouldn't feel less of a person no matter the situation and that she shouldn't make others feel bad about themselves. I know there is a lot of racial hate in this country and even more now that the presidential elections are so close. Luckily we have this month full of celebrations that help us to remember who we are, where we come from and all that we have accomplished in this country."
Zuleika Palomino and her friend Sussy Dillon, both of whom are students of OPS, say they have friends from all races: "We are all friends, and we don't care what everyone looks like. At school, we have to work as teams, and everyone helps and things work out. We then have parties at the gym, and we learn some of the dances from other countries. We also have other events at the gym and have fun with friends from everywhere. This is why it’s great that we are all friends and that we can enjoy all festivals together."
Penelope Garcia, a Mexican employee of the Mexican Consulate: "The beautiful whisper of the Spanish language allows us to share in the bliss of the Latino heritage, no matter where we are." And on the issue of the people who do not agree with having this month celebrating Latinos, she mentions: "The world has to be seen from all angles, acting like the rational human beings we are, and that is why we the United States of America recognizes and acknowledged Latinos and this must be respected, accepted and contributed to. This celebration must be something considered day by day by all of us who are here in this nation.”
Melissa Henzler, of Metropolitan Community College: “This year the Hispanic Heritage Month probably has an even more important meaning because Latino communities have united against the hate rhetoric of the Republican candidate for the presidency of the United States. But we won’t allow hate to prevail. Now more than ever, Latinos must be proud of their culture, and we should all celebrate it as brothers and sisters, inhabitants of the same nation.”
So if you are Boricua, Dominican, Mexican or from anywhere else in Latin America, you are without a doubt a solid and very important piece of the structure that keeps this nation going, a nation that today celebrates the Hispanic Heritage Month.