Monday, October 1, 2012

Meet Your Local Hispanic

I found out last week that we are smack in the middle of National Hispanic Heritage Month.  In honor of this illustrious month, which spans Sep 15 – Oct 15, I’m going to use this forum to do some positive PR and spread the word about the contributions of my peeps.  But first, a word* from our President (1):

Presidential Proclamation -- National Hispanic Heritage Month, 2012

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Our Nation's story would not be possible without generations of Hispanics who have shaped and strengthened the fabric of our Union. They have enriched every aspect of our national identity with traditions that stretch across centuries and reflect the many ancestries that comprise the Hispanic community. This month, we celebrate this rich heritage and reflect on the invaluable contributions Hispanics have made to America.

Hispanics have helped shape our communities and expand our country, from laboratories and industry to board rooms and classrooms. They have led movements that pushed our country closer to realizing the democratic ideals of America's founding documents, and they have served courageously as members of our Armed Forces to defend those ideals at home and abroad. Hispanics also serve as leaders throughout the public sector, working at the highest levels of our government and serving on our highest courts.

As we celebrate these hard-fought achievements, we must also remember there is more work to be done to widen the circle of opportunity for the Hispanic community and keep the American dream within reach for all who seek it. From promoting job creation and ensuring Hispanics are represented in the Federal workforce to reshaping our education system to meet the demands of the 21st century, my Administration has built ladders of opportunity. The Department of Homeland Security has lifted the shadow of deportation from talented and patriotic young people who were brought to America as children, giving them a degree of relief so they can continue contributing to our society, and we remain steadfast in our pursuit of meaningful legislative immigration reform.

Whether we trace our roots to those who came here on the Mayflower, who settled the Southwest centuries ago, or who joined the American family more recently, we share a common belief in the enduring promise of America -- the promise that regardless of where we come from or what we look like, each of us can make it if we try. During National Hispanic Heritage Month, as we celebrate the successes of the Hispanic community, let us reaffirm our commitment to extending that promise to all Americans.

To honor the achievements of Hispanics in America, the Congress by Public Law 100-402, as amended, has authorized and requested the President to issue annually a proclamation designating September 15 through October 15 as "National Hispanic Heritage Month."

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim September 15 through October 15, 2012, as National Hispanic Heritage Month. I call upon public officials, educators, librarians, and all Americans to observe this month with appropriate ceremonies, activities, and programs.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this fourteenth day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand twelve, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-seventh.


Wow, that’s the real deal.

If you don’t happen to particularly like or tolerate ethnicities beyond your own, this may not be the post or blog for you.  Feel free to abandon this cart right now.  There are few things that rile me to the bone, and intolerance is one of them.  In this, I flat out refuse to engage, and by that, I mean, inflammatory, insensitive or insulting comments will not find a home on this blog.

Now that we’ve cleared that up, let’s move on to the discussion.

There are some people out there who may challenge some of the President’s assertions, and I’ve come prepared for you.  Following are examples that support President Obama’s claims around Hispanics.

“Our Nation's story would not be possible without generations of Hispanics who have shaped and strengthened the fabric of our Union.”   Have Hispanics really shaped the fabric of our nation?  Yes.  From music and film to politics and finance, we can find plenty of examples of Hispanic influence.  A simple example:  who doesn't love chips and salsa?  I mean, come on.  Hispanic influence is felt everywhere.  Did you know that the lariat twirling and bronco busting you see at rodeos have their roots in early Mexican culture?  And the word “lariat” comes from the Spanish word “la reata”?(2)  It does and they do.

Do you remember those old Saturday morning cartoons about us all being part of the melting pot?  They should bring those back again.  Because we aren’t reminded enough of that.

Hispanics have helped shape our communities and expand our country, from laboratories and industry to board rooms and classrooms .  Are all Hispanics hugely successful businessmen, inventors, and positive societal contributors?  No.  Are all Hispanics illegal, ignorant, and lazy?  Of course not.  Everyone has it in them to be a slacker, just like everyone has it in them to excel.  Here are some examples of Hispanic excellence.

·         Ellen Ochoa (astronaut)
·         Arturo Moreno (owner of the Anaheim Angels)
·         Narciso Rodriguez (fashion designer)
·         Rita Hayworth (actress)
·         Dr. J. Mario Molina (CEO of Molina Healthcare)
·         Jose Gomez (archbishop)
·         Jennifer Lopez (actress, singer)
·         Sara Martinez Tucker (president of Hispanic Scholarship Fund)
·         George Lopez (comedian)
·         Mel Martinez (former Florida senator)

They have served courageously as members of our Armed Forces to defend those ideals at home and abroad.   Do Hispanics have a deep loyalty to this country?  They sure do, and history confirms it.  Hispanics have served in every military conflict to occur since the American Revolution.(3)  Rather than go on about the many Hispanic heroes throughout history, I’ll share with you this:  my grandma saw all five of her sons off to war and was blessed to see them all return home alive.

I have a feeling I’m getting a little long-winded here, so I’ll wrap it up. 

I am half-Mexican, half-Colombian, and all-American. 

I am a first generation daughter who stumbled her way through college applications and student loans and who worked 3 jobs at one time to put herself through college. 

I am also the first in my entire family to graduate college with a Bachelor’s degree, followed by an MBA. 

I have a grandmother who doesn’t speak English, five uncles who raised happy, healthy families, and two parents who loved me enough to risk me hating them as a teenager.  I joke about driving to the hood when I visit on the weekends.  I don’t bat an eye about eating cow stomach lining or tongue, but I do draw the line at cow brains. 

I sing in the car to 96.3 “LA’s only Spanglish Station”, and I’ve memorized the words to my favorite Elvis Crespo songs.  I also love Jamba Juice smoothies, Vampire Weekend, and Bravo trash tv.  I don’t speak Spanish very well, but I know all the bad words. 

I’m as complex as the next person. 

I also happen to be Hispanic.

*I bolded the best parts, for those of you who like to skim.

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