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Heritage and Home
September 22, 2022
When you succeed, don’t forget the responsibility of making somebody else succeed with you.
-Antonia Novello, Pediatrician and first Hispanic US Surgeon General

I sat down this week to write about National Hispanic Heritage Month* and instead my news feed was flooded, quite literally, with news of Hurricane Fiona hitting land in the US Territory of Puerto Rico. Considering the awe-inspiring profiles of Hispanic Americans—educators, astronauts, farm workers, doctors, activists, scientists, legislators, artists, and more—alongside the devastating damage in Puerto Rico offered a gripping reminder that in both celebration and loss, we stand together. As the hard work of rebuilding begins again, the words of US Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor reveal a well of hope, resilience and healing that we wish for all: “There are uses to adversity, and they don't reveal themselves until tested, whether it's serious illness, financial hardship, or the simple constraint of parents who speak limited English, difficulty can tap unexpected strengths.”

*Established in 1968, the start of National Hispanic Heritage Month in the United States was set as September 15, to coincide with Independence Day in Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Mexico and Chile celebrate their Independence Days shortly thereafter. Puerto Rico remains a U.S. Territory. Both Novello and Sotomayor are Puerto Rican Americans.


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Comments (2)

Displaying All 2 Comments
Kirsten Haugen · September 23, 2022
Exchange Press
Eugene, OR, United States

Interesting, Francis. Even within the celebration of particular identities, I believe we have room - and responsibilities - to honor those of us lucky enough to claim multiple identities. I think making visible the vast diversity across Hispanic communities alone is one example of that, but also getting better at explicitly acknowledging and welcoming children and adults who come to us with multiple identities - racial, cultural and otherwise - would benefit us all. I'd love your suggestions on how we can do that.

Francis Wardle · September 22, 2022
University of Phoenix/ Red Rocks Community College
Denver, Colorado, United States

I think it's very important and wonderful to celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month, along with all the other heritage months throughout the year. It's important to include the heritage of these various groups in everything we do in our programs. However, all off these national heritage months celebrate a single identity - race, ethnic, cultural, gender and sexual orientation. Ironically, as our country experiences a radical increase of people who claim a multiracial and multiethnic heritage across every different identity group, there is not as single month that celebrates this rich form of diversity. In fact, my community college centers its entire diversely effort on these monthly celebrations, which means people who celebrates more than one race, ethnicity, or culture, are invisible. For anyone or any organization that claims to celebrate diversity, this is unacceptable; its particularly problematic for programs with young children of mixed racial and ethnic heritage.

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