As Hispanic Heritage Month comes to a close, I would like to reflect on what being Hispanic means to me, and the impact it has on my goals, aspirations, and career path. I am one of just over 56 million Hispanic and Latinx Americans today. The diversity within our community is rich in history and tradition with many similar roots and ideals. A major misconception among non-Hispanics or Latinx people is that all “Spanish” people are the same, speaking the same language, eating the same food, and listening to the same music. The various dialects of our language, the multitude of recipes and spices used in different cuisines, and the many different genres of music show the diversity among such a strong and united group of people. As a first-generation Cuban-American living in this country, I’m grateful to have been immersed in my culture’s traditions, both tangible things and non-tangible ideals.
My family has always instilled in me the importance of family, putting your best foot forward, and hard work along with dedication can help to achieve anything you want in life. Like many Hispanic and Latinx immigrant families, mine came to this country appreciating all the opportunity that was within their grasp and possible for them. With their deep roots of determination and family unity, they accomplished so much and are just one of the many families who have done the same thing. These are ideals that have molded me into who I am today and with moving forward in my career. Working as a nurse in healthcare has shown me that health issues and concerns do not discriminate against who you are. People deserve kindness and compassion regardless of nationality or the color of their skin. Treating others as if they are your own family has been and continues to be one of my strongest attributes to my career.
That is one of the many things I can take away from my heritage. If you can go through life treating others as if they are your loved one, we would have a strong and united community, being able to support one another and care for each other. My husband is Dominican and we have two children that we want to raise with our families various cultural traditions and ideals. We want them to know their background, appreciate where they come from, and embrace the values that have gotten our families to where we are today. We want to raise the future Hispanic and Latinx people of the world to be proud of who they are and strong in their beliefs and thinking. As a whole, we can do anything we set our minds to and their continued future success is theirs for the taking, with their family and culture to support them every step of the way.
Happy Hispanic Heritage Month!
Theresa Alvarez, Nursing Student (’21)