In this week's Vistas, we join in the celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month by asking prominent Latino thinkers and doers for their perspective on a common theme:
As U.S Hispanics, we hold firmly to a sense of common roots with all Latinos across the world, even as we celebrate the diversity of, and breadth across, our shared heritage.
In recognition of Hispanic Heritage Month 2011, we ask:
Which is the one Latino cultural trait you most want to see preserved and handed down to future generations?
Recognizing that Latinos are not a homogeneous group, and yet share a broad range of experiences and legacies, Vistas simply aims to help illustrate different points of view, which in aggregate can present a truer reflection of what the larger community feels and thinks.
In the slideshow we present their responses to this week's theme and invite you share your punto de vista and comments below.
Daniel Cubias, The Hispanic Fanatic 'I read that sociologists recently polled Latinos to gauge the single most powerful indicator of our culture. In a landslide, Hispanics answered, "strength of family connection." I agree with that result. Yes, focusing on our families can be a double-edged sword, but it's still a great trait to preserve across generations. I'd also like to see it exported to other segments of American society.' Flick photo by: eliazar
Wendy Carrillo, Journalist / Writer 'Nothing makes me happier than remembering Navidad and New Years at my Tio's house with the loud rhythmic sounds of Celia Cruz and Sonora Dinamita playing in the background. Despite economic hardships, recessions, political ideologies, loosing loved ones through illness or tragic circumstances, Latinos know how to preserve LIFE, to rejoice in blessings, to dance the night away and be thankful for crazy extended families, friends, good vino and good food. The tradition of being "together" goes beyond the holidays - we don't wait until Thanksgiving to see our parents, our families are part of our everyday lives.' Flickr photo by: Jaime Olmo
Viviana Hurtado, The Wise Latina Club 'Striving to speak Spanish (and English) grammatically correct everyday is the passageway to a rich culture and history which has contributed greatly to Western Civilization. It is not a coincidence that the first grammar of a Romance language--Antonio de Nebrija's Gramática de la lengua castellana--is contemporary with the political unification of Spain into Europe's first nation state. Language and power are intrinsically and inevitably interwoven. Don Quijote says, "Yo sé quién soy/I know who I am." Mastering your origins is foundational to where you are headed. It also serves as a powerful weapon when along the way, you must defend yourself, your family, your people from xenophobia and ignorance.' Flickr photo by: Gastev
Dina Siegel Vann, American Jewish Committee 'My grandparents and thousands of European and Middle Eastern Jews were allowed to find safe haven thanks to Mexico's generous immigration policies when the borders of most countries in the world, including those of the US, remained closed. It is this Latino generosity of spirit which needs to be preserved so that it can continue nurturing our country's historical tradition of embracing immigrants. This is important to underscore. In the context of the continuous and increasingly vitriolic immigration debate, Mexico and other Latin American nations are only seen as population expellers rather than receptors of immigrants and refugees.' Flickr photo by: ahisgett
Cristina Ruiz, Yale University '12 'One aspect of Latino culture which distinguishes us is our sense of community, of desiring to be an integral part of something greater than ourselves. Individualism serves a necessary purpose, but the idea that to better the whole will therefore better the self is an ideology that should be maintained and strengthened. As Latinos continue to marry non-Latinos and our physical distinctions from other Americans become less apparent, it is this collectivist spirit and compassion that will tie the community together.' Flickr photo by: cliff1066™
Mariela Dabbah, Author. Speaker. Consultant 'I'd go with versatility: The great ability that Latinos have to adjust to change, which most likely comes from having been raised in a region with high levels of unpredictability (or raised by parents and grandparents who passed on this trait). It's a skill that many immigrants share and that serves them well as they adjust to a new culture. It's what makes many Latinos great entrepreneurs and what enables them to think out of the box when things don't go as planned. It's what helps them move easily from one role to the next, and to be open to trying new things. All of which ads up to a fantastic trait to succeed in a tough economy. Latinos should be teaching lessons on adapting to change to many non-Latinos right about now!' Flickr photo by: basheertome
Glenn Llopis, The Center for Hispanic Leadership 'Live with a generous purpose. It is in our nature to give. We are raised to consider others' needs as much as our own. This begins with giving inside our family when we are young, and then, when we are older, we are taught that we are a part of a larger family all around us. Our propensity to give to others from our harvest ensures us a perpetual harvest. We must share the harvest of the momentum we are building, with others. Sharing begins with trust. And trusting yourself is one of the most critical success factors in life. It's time for our community to unite, empower and expand our impact and influence; voice and language. This can only happen by trusting ourselves and working together to advance our community for the betterment of a healthier whole.' Flickr photo by: epSos.de