Although I often say that I am an international citizen—having grown up in Venezuela, the United States and France—I am 100% Latina. I crave my arepas, pabellón and can’t resist dancing whenever I hear reggaeton, salsa or merengue. My husband will add that I automatically switch to Spanish as my default language when I’m tired. I also swap to Spanish without fail when I feel the urge to swear “Cónchale!” (that’s my clean version obviously) or in a romantic mood (mi vida, mi amorcito lindo). Pobresito, mi hubby Canadiense. He had no choice but to learn Spanish. Otherwise, we would’ve had a huge communication problem. Never mind the fact that I speak fluent English and French, when my Spanish kicks in, it just does. No matter how long it’s been since I actually lived in Caracas, you can’t take the criollo out of this chama.
Hispanic Heritage Month: ¡Alza tu(s) bandera(s)!
As immigrants we can’t escape the imprints from our motherland and why would we want to? This month—whether Mexican, Dominican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Venezuelan, Colombian, Argentine, Ecuadorian, Chilean, Uruguayan, Guatemalan, Peruvian, Costa Rican, Bolivian, Paraguayan, Salvadorian, Nicaraguan, Honduran or Panamanian—we all share something in common: Hispanic Heritage Month. Este mes celebramos todas nuestras banderas hasta del país Anglo que nos ha dado la bienvenida, los Estados Unidos. So, from my heart to yours: ¡Feliz mes de la Hispanidad Mamacita!
Pasión Latina, alegría y el calorcito que brinda nuestra cultura
Even my son, who was born in the US, craves his arepas con queso y jamón. So I embrace the fact that every year from September 15 to October 15 I get to talk about how lucky our family is to be influenced by multiple cultures. It enriches our palate (platanitos for me please), our vocabulary (épale), our music playlist (sazón puro), and, if I may say so, our charm (¡Ya tú sabes!).
Así que a conmemorar nuestras raíces Latino-Americanas y a sentirnos orgullosas por nuestra cultura, herencia, tradiciones y nuestra lengua materna, el español. A sentirnos orgullosas por ser inmigrantes y por llenar este bello país con nuestra pasión Latina, alegría y nuestro colorido sentido de humor.
Un mes para celebrar Y registrarse para votar
But let us not, amidst the celebration, forget how lucky we are to be US Latinos. We immigrated to a country free from political persecution, free from volatile economic instability and free from the constant fear of being mugged or kidnapped. This Hispanic Heritage Month let’s make it our duty to remember just how fortunate we are by registering to vote. I know what you’re thinking. This blog post just took a detour. Yes, now I’m talking politics—one of the three forbidden topics of discussion according to most etiquette experts (the other two being la religión y el sexo). However, this blog is not about trying to convince you to vote one way or the other. We want to be impartial, and not because we don’t have strong political opinions, but because our main objective is for your voice to be heard—regardless of your political inclination.
SHARE THE LOVE Y TWEETEA…
“Bad officials are elected by good citizens who do not vote.”- J.G. Nathan #votolatino #uslatino #iamelectionready http://ctt.ec/4fINx+
Plus, I have some exciting news to share: Mamas Con Ganas has partnered up with Voto Latino this month. What does this mean for you? Here’s the scoop:
Voto Latino has done all the leg work for us so the voter registration process only takes 5 minutes of your time. It’s SUPER-DUPER easy so there is no excuse—unless you’re not a US citizen. Simply click the button below and fill out the info. Eso es todo.
Perhaps you don’t see the urgency in your vote. Let me reassure you that your vote not only matters but is vital as a Latina woman. First, keep in mind that women weren’t even able to vote in the US until 1920. That’s less than one hundred years ago. The suffragettes who dedicated their lives so that we could have the right to vote understood that in order for government to prioritize issues that are important to us, we must first have a voice. Voice in government translates to votes. Why do you think that it wasn’t until women started voting that women started to attend college and finally made significant strides in gaining more rights and privileges? In short, the women’s movement of the 1960’s and 1970’s was a powerful one because we had gained the right to vote. This meant we could no longer be ignored.
Second, I will disclose something personal that perhaps my sisters of Cuban descent will understand. There is something to be said when you see your country of origin literally collapse in a span of several years, when you witness its democracy being threatened with the violation of human rights and political persecution. You begin to understand from a profound level that the right to vote is Sacred (with a capital S). It is like the freedom of speech. The Cuban exiles know this to be true as do all the Venezuelans horrified by the events unfolding recently in our patria querida. The fact that I can vote in the US, free from turmoil, is a Blessing and something I will never ever take for granted. I hope you don’t either.
Be our Voice… Be the #VotoLatino
Entonces, will you join Mamas Con Ganas in inspiring your amigos and familia to register to vote?
Necesitamos que la voz de la comunidad Latina sea escuchada en esta próxima elección presidencial. It is the only way for the government to prioritize those issues that are dear to our hearts and that affect our lives. Are you with me? Ojo, we have registration deadlines approaching at the speed of Usain Bolt, so there is no time to lose.
Beauty in our Latino heritage
In conclusion, I hope you use Hispanic Heritage Month to reflect on the beauty of your heritage and in the process become inspired to register and vote. Our activism and our voice (nuestro #VotoLatino) is the legacy we leave for our children. It is also the voice for the undocumented Latinos working hard in this country with the dream of one day too becoming citizens.
SHARE THE LOVE Y TWEETEA…
Preservation of one’s own culture does not require contempt or disrespect for other cultures. -Cesar Chavez http://ctt.ec/utI7U+
Once you’ve registered don’t forget to encourage your family and friends to do the same.
What flags represent you Mamacita? What is your Hispanic Heritage story? And, most importantly, are you registered to vote? We’d love to know. Tell us in the comments below.
Recuerda: Don’t be a mama con drama. Let’s be Mamas Con Ganas!
See you at the voting booth. 😉 👍🇺🇸✔️
Our Inspired Mamacita and Working Mamacita share their heritage
Country of birth: Venezuela
Where I grew up: Venezuela, the United States and France
Country of birth: Venezuela
Country of her parents’ origin: Ecuador
Where she grew up: Venezuela and the United States