DEI Committee

Diversity Equality Inclusion - September 24, 2021

Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month: Honoring Sacrifice as Well as Triumph

by Emily Escobar

My childhood consisted of tunes from artists ranging from Celia Cruz to Selena. In fact, “Guantanamera Guajira Guantanamera” and “Bidi bidi boom boom” were the first words I heard as I got up for school each morning. The music played as plantains sizzled in the kitchen and filled the entire house with their sweet fragrance.

As Hispanic Heritage Month has arrived, I cannot help but reflect on my childhood and upbringing. Without my parents, this month would remain shallow to me. As a community, we commemorate this month and recognize the triumphs and impacts of Hispanics. To recognize triumph, we should also recognize the cost and sacrifice it took to reach triumph. Part of the heritage we honor this month is what it took to seek liberation and independence in many countries of Latin America.

In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, individual rights and freedom movements began, and by movements, I mean wars. Battles had to be fought for independence–A right everyone must have, but one that is taken for granted; A right that should be given to everyone but is not.

As children, my parents suffered through poverty, famine, and war. When my parents were 18, they had to leave their home, El Salvador. My parents left their home country due to the Salvadorian Civil War that took place from Oct. 1979 until Jan. 1992. They had no choice but to seek a better home. What little they had, had to be given away.

I often ask my mother this question, “What gave you the strength to overcome?” Her response: “It was for you. Even though I had no children at the time, I knew that the environment we were in would never provide opportunity nor prosperity.”

I am now a first-generation college student at George Mason University, and I cannot help but give thanks to my parents for this opportunity. The truth is my parents also would have never been able to succeed without the help of others. Their struggles to find security in a foreign land, to overcome language barriers all could not have been surmounted without someone reaching out a helping hand.

To these people, I too give many thanks. Hispanic Heritage Month celebrates the result of overcoming of hardships and the key to success stems from helping one another.

At Goodwin House, I am overwhelmed by the love and support I have felt from all staff members. What is more encouraging is that as I enter the doors of Goodwin House, our cultural differences are not seen as a barrier. We all embrace one another. I hope that outside communities and our society can learn from the example set by Goodwin House.

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About the Diversity, Equality and Inclusion (DEI) Committee: We are a group of staff and residents who together serve a mission to educate, embrace and empower a workplace of diversity, equality and inclusion. Our vision is to seek open and honest communication and collaboration that will inform and celebrate the cultural, ethnic and sexual orientation of all members of our staff without bias.

Questions or comments? Please contact us dei@goodwinhouse.org.

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