When I came to work in Reading, I was surprised by the number of Latinos who had no knowledge of their parents’ culture or their ancestors. Many were born in the United States and others had left their home countries at a very young age. Most barely spoke Spanish and in many cases the parents did not speak English. It was difficult for me to understand that dynamic when communication is a key element in family life.
When I shared with children and young people, they were clueless of ??their culture. The confusion between their family environment and the dominant culture did not allow them to develop a healthy identity. That is why, as part of my work, cultural education and creating a balance between their culture and the majority culture were fundamental.
National pride and knowing where we come from are keys to better navigate a new culture. We learn to appreciate and respect without losing our identity. Schools lack cultural curriculum. That is why the importance of community programs that fill that gap. For me, love of country and honoring ancestors are fundamental values ??in the development of human beings. Each one of us is what it is thanks to those who were responsible for forging the path for us to continue it.
I say like the poet Juan A. Corretjer “I would be Borincana (someone who originated from or is an inhabitant of Puerto Rico), even if I were born on the moon.” There is no better feeling than national pride when sailing through different seas and directions. Happy Hispanic month.
Maria M. Garcia, BA, MA