Celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month as a Latina Mom

As I celebrate National Hispanic Heritage month honoring the contributions and lives of so many inspirational Latinx leaders, this year feels different. Within the next few weeks, my husband and I will welcome our first child, a little baby boy. As I reflect on my identity as a Latina, an American, a daughter, a wife, and now a mother, I think about the country my son will inherit.

How will his generation confront our most pressing and existential problems of our time? In the face of mass shootings, inhumane treatment of immigrants, climate disasters, sky high cost of living and a broken healthcare system, I worry about the grim and dangerous realities that my son is about to be born into.

Today’s Issues Will Affect My Son’s Future

We are a family of proud immigrants who came from Mexico and established a life and home in the U.S. when I was only four years old. Like many of our friends and neighbors arriving from Guatemala, El Salvador, and Venezuela, our family came in search of economic opportunities and a future that was determined by social stability, one’s work ethic, and education rather than by social instability, violence, and the class that you were born into. Issues like comprehensive immigration reform, climate change, and creating a multiracial democracy will not be intangible, lofty aspirations in my son’s life; they will be urgent, immediate life and death issues in his communities.

Rather than being a collection of separate issues, they will be even more interconnected than they already are. For my son’s generation, these issues will be deeply intertwined; climate change has increasingly been the cause of mass migration waves, and this will only grow as extreme heat, droughts, and flooding grow more present in communities where people are already barely making ends meet. The existence of climate change seems to be up for debate for some elected officials. Washington also treats immigrants as dispensable, political pawns, not people fighting to provide their families with a shot at a better life. Our lack of an equitable democracy has allowed for a generation of leaders who fail to engage with difficult choices in ways that match the values of the majority of Americans. Our future depends on us, and I believe we can come together to give the next generation the world it deserves.

How I’m Celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month

This National Hispanic Heritage Month, I’m celebrating by organizing for a better future. Only 1.5% of all elected officials in the United States are Latinx, despite making up 18.5% of the population. We need to encourage our family and friends to update their voter registration status and have robust, routine conversations about who is running to represent us at the local, state and national level. We must pay special attention to those positions that are responsible for counting and certifying our elections, like Secretary of State, County Board of Supervisors, County Recorders, and County Election boards. The first step to civic participation is voter registration. We must ensure that every naturalized citizen is registered to vote, informed about the candidates that are running for office both at the local and federal level and feel empowered to cast their vote. Voting is both a right and privilege that we cannot afford to give up, now or ever. It is our duty. Our children are depending on us.

I want to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month by honoring Latinx traditions, history, and dreams, but civic engagement and participation are the most direct ways to ensure that members of the Latinx community are seen, heard, and respected. We need to elect leaders that reflect our communities and have lived experience with the issues that impact us, from immigration to climate change.

“I want to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month by honoring Latinx traditions, history, and dreams, but civic engagement and participation are the most direct ways to ensure that members of the Latinx community are seen, heard, and respected.”

Organizations like Mi Familia Vota, Poder Latinx, and Chispa, work to build capacity, create awareness of the issues that are impacting our communities, and empower members of the Latinx community to act by casting their informed voice and vote at the ballot box. We need to build the infrastructure and support more Latinx candidates running for office at every level of government. By investing in local and state-level races, we’re creating the next generation of leaders who are ready to give my son and the next generation of Americans the future they deserve. 

We know our communities the best, and it’s critical that we support resilient grassroots organizations that fight day in and day out, year after year, to build political and economic power for the Latinx community. 

6 Ways to Celebrate National Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month with Kids

Source link: https://theeverymom.com/celebrating-national-hispanic-heritage-month-as-a-latina-mom/ by Kathy Sisson at theeverymom.com