Hispanic Heritage Month
To celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, we interviewed New Directions employee, Janett Coronado. When asked what Hispanic Heritage Month means to her, Janett had a lot to say.
“It means culture,” she said. Celebrating with traditional recipes is great, but of most importance is remembering where she and her family came from. Janett emphasized the hard work that many families went through to try and get their families to where they are today and expressed the importance of preserving culture for future generations. Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month brings back stories that she remembers her mom telling her about when she was younger. “People had to work very hard.” Her mother used to have people come and help the family with crops back in Puerto Rico. Workers often weren’t able to receive much pay other than a small sack with some of the harvested produce to take back home.
“Don’t forget the culture,” said Janett, “Don’t forget the beliefs or where you come from.” Janett tries to pass on the culture to her family throughout the year, not just during Hispanic Heritage Month. “I always try to introduce my grandkids to different foods,” she said, “For holidays, like Easter, I usually make sure that half of the food is American and half is Hispanic.” Her family also celebrates Three Kings Day and she explains to her grandkids that the presents received then are not from Santa, but from the Three Kings instead.
Janett has had to explain some of the differences in culture when it comes to coworkers and others who aren’t privy to some aspects of Hispanic culture. She recalled one time when a child was being scolded and was thought to be disrespectful and defiant because they wouldn’t look up at the person scolding them. She had to explain the difference in culture. “He’s not being disrespectful. It’s respectful to look down when being scolded in our culture,” she explained, “When a child looks down while being scolded, they are showing respect. You don’t look in the eye of your parents or elders when they’re scolding you.”
Although Janett celebrates her culture year-round, Hispanic Heritage Month brings her joy. She likes to see the buses with the Hispanic Heritage banners and all the Hispanic flags. Hearing people cheer and clap during the cultural parades makes her heart throb proudly. Hispanic Heritage Month reminds her to continue moving forward and fighting for what you believe in. “It’s important to work for change while still holding on to the important parts of our history and culture.”