A Country of Many Voices

As Hispanic Heritage Month continues to run until October 15th, I’m digitally digging through archives to find contributions from the Hispanic/Latinx community to U.S. history. As of now, I’ve learned a Mexican created the first color TV system, Cuba funded the end of the American Revolution, and, not only did Hispanic/Latinx immigrants fight in WWI, “temporary” Mexican agricultural workers feed the country.

Yet, I am struggling.

Not because there aren’t enough contributions (trust me, there’s plenty), but because these significant moments in history weren’t recorded as important as they were. You could say I’m just a lousy researcher, and part of me hopes that’s the case because then the stories of my people are somewhere out there receiving the respect they deserve. But then again, U.S. history was written through one voice, a voice that wasn’t ours, although the country is made of many voices that have always worked to be heard.

As a Mexican-American, finding the proper sources for these pieces of history are important to me because, like many other people of minority ethnicities, we want to see a part of ourselves in the country we call home.

This past summer, I grew the need to culturally dig into where I come from. I attended Threshing Bee with a fresh pair of eyes, and happily absorbed the pioneer past and artifacts of European immigrants. Later on, I attended a high tea party and watched a piece of the life of high-class English women of the 19th-century play right before my eyes. Experiences like these left me wondering about my own ancestors.

I ask my mom about her time in Mexico and what it was like to cross over. She can’t remember most of it the older she gets.

I recently joined Convivencia Hispana as a member. The members are twice my age, and I can’t help seeing them as aunts and uncles I can ask more questions about who we are.

I’m proud and hopeful for what’s to come. While my people are told to speak English, I’m trying to cling to my broken Spanish.

Originally published in St. James Plaindealer on September 26, 2019.

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