Hispanic Heritage Is American Heritage
Heritage months are about celebrating what we have forgotten, ignored or otherwise avoided over the centuries since this nation’s birth. It’s not all your fault, the stories have been buried and tarnished to intentionally discredit the contribution of those who don’t fit the European mold. But it’s on you now. It’s on each of us to educate ourselves and bridge the gaps that promote racism and hate and fear.
This is what heritage months were created for, to include Americans who have not been recognized in our history, but who have contributed to greater American culture. They were created to educate and to bridge the gap between our communities. This is the kind of education and community bridging that American activists like Martin Luther King Jr., Cesar Chavez and John F. Kennedy spoke of often, because segregation doesn’t just exist in the streets, it exists in our minds. Racism thrives on our fears and it makes us believe that we are much more different than reality shows. But how will we ever know if we never learn the other side of the story? How will we ever know what will bring us together if we never take the leap to explore or ask questions? If we never have the passion to understand or the respect to embrace what is different? How will we tell Americans who are “different” that they are also Americans when we don’t celebrate their roles in our country’s history?
Celebrating all heritage months is important. It’s important because we are acknowledging that ALL Americans deserve a mention in our nation’s history books. It’s important because our sons and daughters need to see themselves as part of American history and culture… because they are part of the fabric of America, and that needs to be recognized.