As Hispanic Heritage Month comes to an end, we want to celebrate by having a few of our employees share what being Hispanic means to them.
“I am filled with immense pride whenever I think about my Hispanic heritage. The very word,
pride, itself is what it means to me to be Hispanic. Hispanic Heritage is much more than the
language, cuisine, music and dance.
Hispanic Heritage has deep historical roots and is involved in the development of much of the
world we live in presently. Hispanic heritage means acknowledging where we come from, and
how we got to where we are. Being Hispanic means that I come from tradition and values that
teach us to work together towards a common goal, stand up for what is right, and to take part in a long and rich history, while pursuing our personal goals.
Legendary Hispanic figures like, Simon Bolivar, Jose de San Martin, and Miguel Hidalgo fought for the freedom of Hispanics, allowing us to instill our own traditions and values as I stated earlier. These traditions and values are prevalent in the actions and emergence of other great Hispanic figures such as, Frida Kahlo, Roberto Clemente, Pablo Picasso, and Sonia Sotomayor, that have left an impact on the world more recently. Being groundbreaking and making history is what it means to be Hispanic.“
–Ray Rhone IV, Food and Nutrition Center Assistant Coordinator
Remembering the past, looking toward the future
“One thing that makes Settlement Houses unique, is that for more than 100 years, they have welcomed the stranger and have valued the contribution of our brothers and sisters from all over the world.
This month, we celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month. Started in 1968 during the Johnson administration, it was then known as Hispanic Heritage Week. In 1988, President Regan expanded the celebration to last 30 days from September 15th to October 15th.
As we celebrate and acknowledge the cultures, histories and contribution of those who have come from Spain, Central and South America, Mexico and the Caribbean, I would like to acknowledge and honor one of my personal heroes.
In my office, here at St. Stephen’s Community House, I have a photo of one of my personal heroes. That hero is Dolores Huerta. Dolores was instrumental in the founding and formation of the National Farm Workers Association along with Cesar Chavis. In the photo, Dolores is holding up a sign which says; “Huelga” which means strike in Spanish.
When I see that photo, I am reminded of the struggles that many of our Latino brothers and sisters face daily. I am reminded of the disproportionate number of Latinos who have been hit by Covid-19. I am reminded of the number of Latino front-line workers who have no choice but to continue working during this pandemic. I am reminded of the determination of many, despite the chants of “Build that Wall, still are willing to risk it all for a shot at the American Dream, even though these are challenging times for Latinos all across the country.
When I met my wife, she was working at a Settlement House in San Antonio, Texas providing emergency assistance. She is from Puerto Rico and her first language is not English. I am the father of two Afro-Puerto Rican Children. I attend a Latino church; I eat Latino food and celebrate Feliz día de Reyes. I am not Latino, but as an African American and her husband, we share a common struggle. How do we fight for and insure all people have a better life? We continue to celebrate our commonalities and as Dolores Huerta reminds us– ‘Every moment is an organizing opportunity, every person a potential activist, every minute a chance to change the world.’ Happy Heritage Month!”
–Tommy Ferguson, Youth Services Education Coordinator