I was recently asked about my thoughts regarding Hispanic Heritage month. I stopped to think about it and realized that I have never given this much thought. I was a bit ashamed, as I do not have much knowledge of when this cultural celebration began. This caused me to look back as to why my sense of indifference and lack of knowledge. I came to realize that at one time I had developed numerous resentments towards my father, who is Mexican, and I did not want to be like him in any way shape or form, including identifying with my Hispanic heritage. This and other contributing factors, led me to make some horrible decisions in my life, which eventually led me to prison for more than half of my life. While in prison, I never took the time to think about my heritage, much less celebrate it.
Today, I have addressed the traumas that led to many of my past negative beliefs. In the time that I spent incarcerated, I learned to free myself by embracing a different mindset, which has allowed me to grow as a human being. I love and am proud of the relationship that my father and I have. I have had the opportunity to learn from him about our family, culture, struggles, and accomplishments. I know the importance of knowing, not only about my heritage, but that of others. I have learned to embrace and love my Hispanic heritage, as well as the diverse cultures within our society. We have more similarities than differences. This knowledge has served me to live a life of empathy and love towards all! I am proud of my Hispanic heritage and the contribution that not only my people have made to our society, but the contribution that all of our diverse cultures have made, as united we can truly make a difference!