The story of America is complex. It's painful, beautiful, and sadly, not fully told. Heritage month observances remind us to learn about one another in ways that can be educational, revealing, uplifting and validating.
Each year, National Hispanic Heritage Month is observed in the U.S. from September 15th to October 15th. This period highlights and celebrates the histories, cultures, and contributions of Hispanic American citizens and their ancestors who have helped shape America to become what it is still growing into. Actress #AmericaFerrera is one of those Americans who has uniquely found a way of reminding us that identity is a superpower, not an obstacle.
In her April 2019 TEDTalk (titled: "My Identity is a Superpower - Not an Obstacle"), Ferrera reflects on the struggles and frustrations she's experienced as a Latina daring to dream and chase those dreams. Poignantly, she echoes a revelation I believe we all would do well to reflect upon and internalize: "I have witnessed the power our voices have when they can access presence in the culture. I've seen it, we've all seen in. We cannot deny it--presence creates possibility." What she was highlighting was the power presence and representation, particularly of Latinos in all spaces.
Last year's Proclamation 10446--National Hispanic Heritage Month 2022 from the American Presidency Project captured the following: ". . . .National Hispanic Heritage Month reminds us that the American identity is a fabric of diverse traditions and stories woven together. Since the beginning, our country has drawn strength and insights from Hispanic writers, scientists, soldiers, doctors, entrepreneurs, academics, and leaders in labor and government. Our culture has been enriched by the rhythms, art, literature, and creativity of Hispanic peoples. And our deepest values have been informed by the love of family and faith that is at the core of so many Hispanic communities. All of these contributions help us realize the promise of America for all Americans."
I believe Ferrera said it best: "Change will come when each of us has the the courage to question our own fundamental values and beliefs. Collectively, we are what the world actually looks like. And in order for our systems to reflect that, they don't have to create a new reality. They just have to stop resisting the one we already live in."