Here we are right smack in the middle of Hispanic Heritage Month. This is a period of about 30 days which the U.S. sets aside to recognize the contributions Latinos have made to the country. It is a small window where our culture and heritage are celebrated. I believe that even Ann Coulter and Donald Trump have decided to leave us alone during this period, and the U.S. is going to pay Puerto Rico's debt for the month.
Okay, I made those last parts up; you caught me during a moment of wishful thinking! Let's go back to the real world! Recently, I attended an event for Latino Heritage Month. It was a fundraiser and networking event for Latinos, but not limited to Latinos. You know how our people are; we love everyone! The event was held in the South Bronx. I joined my little sister and cousin for the event. The venue was well-organized and had a nice yet fancy vibe to it.
After allowing the guests to settle in, the host hopped on the microphone and made every one of us stand up. She then proceeded to direct us all to move to different tables, her vision was to force us all to sit and talk with people we didn't know. This makes perfect sense as it is, in fact, a networking event.
Soon thereafter, she asked that one representative from each table come up to the stage and provide one reason why being Latino was awesome. I immediately volunteered myself for the speaking portion, but then I realized that I was at a loss as to what was the one most awesome thing about being Latino?
This is not a question I have ever asked myself. I'm Latino and I'm proud of it; I just am. I never really thought about it in those terms. Nevertheless, as I pondered the question, I was at a loss.
As I looked around at all the beautiful faces, both male and female that surrounded me, that's when it hit me. One of the most awesome aspects of being Latino is the diversity among our people!
As I scanned the crowd, I saw people with skin as light as my own, while others had the complexion that highlighted our shared African ancestry. I thought of my father, a man who could have easily passed for an Indian from Bangalore. I looked across to the other table where my little sister was sitting. Her hair is big, curly, and she has a beautiful dark complexion. Meanwhile, my skin is white as porcelain, my hair is straight, or what they call "muerto," yet we both came from the same womb. It is fascinating how even within one family, the children can all appear so very different from one another.
Latinos, are exotic and beautiful people. Regardless of whether we are talking Puerto Rican, Dominican, Mexican, or any other ancestry that is considered Latino, no one Latino will ever look exactly the same. Our blood has been mixed and blended into what can possibly be seen as the perfect combination!
I recently saw a few articles that stated Puerto Rican women were as close to perfection as nature has yet to come. Of course, beauty and perfection are all about perception, but I'll accept the compliment to my sisters from the scientific community.
All that being said, when I stepped up on that stage, and the microphone was put in my hand, I said that the most awesome thing about being Latino is our DIVERSITY! We were blended with a pilon into the beautiful mix of people that we are today. The history of how all this came about may not always be pleasant, but here we are, so why not celebrate ourselves! Not for 30 days once a year, but always and forever!