Students take pride in culture

AC students take pride in their heritage and in representing their culture.
AC students take pride in their heritage and in representing their culture.

Every year, Americans observe Hispanic Heritage Month from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15. During that time, people celebrate the cultures, histories and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Mexico, Spain, the Caribbean and Central and South America. Roughly 54 million Hispanics live in the United States today, making up about 17 percent of the population. They are the largest minority group in the United States. Many Hispanics make the journey to the U.S. in search of a better future for themselves and their family, often leaving their parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents behind for opportunities their native land cannot provide for them. It is a difficult journey that many make with unpredictable consequences.“My dad had to leave Cuba to make a better life for us,” said Daniar Oños, a computer science major. “One day my dad was in a really bad train accident that left him disabled. The main reason I came to the United States was at that moment, I thought that coming to help him was my destiny.”Hispanics experience many hardships, whether it is learning English to having trouble finding resources that can help them get settled in the United States.“Being Hispanic in the U.S. has been really hard for me because learning English was one of the most difficult things I’ve had to do,” Oños explained. “Besides having to leave my mom, family and friends in Cuba. But they gave me the strength not to give up and do the best I can for me and for them.” For Hispanics in the United States, having an education is an accumulated disadvantage due to not having the economic and social resources that many other students have access to.“Having an education is very important not only as a means to become economically successful in the United States, but a vehicle for personal, spiritual and emotional success for us, immigrants,” said Maury Roman-Jordan, director of outreach services.“Back then, whenever you’re Hispanic, it was more like get your diploma and then go work,” said Miguel Cuevas, a business administration major.With more resources becoming available for Hispanics, it no longer is expected for them to just get a high school diploma and work, but to further their education and go to college.An advantage to being Hispanic is being able to communicate in two languages. Many employers look for bilingual candidates when hiring new employees.“Being bilingual is a huge advantage,” said Josh Criado, a computer science major.“ I worked at Clayton Homes, and we had a lot of Spanish-speaking-only customers that would come in, and they trusted me because they see that I speak Spanish and I’m Hispanic, so I felt like I already had a step ahead.” The United States is the world’s second largest Spanish-speaking country in the world after Mexico, according to theInstituto Cervantes.Being Hispanic means hope, family, faith, honor, hard work and dreams. Oños said he is proud of his heritage, from learning to live in the community to the food and music. “Our cultures, our history – I’m proud to be Cuban; I’m proud to be Hispanic.”

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