Well, my first answer will be two former presidents Lyndon B. Johnson was the first to issue a proclamation in 1968. However, it started as a week and then in 1988, Ronald Reagan made it an entire month. What is Hispanic Heritage month? The official definition is that it is an annual celebration of the history and culture of U.S. Latinos. Some people, though, prefer the word Hispanic, Mexican, Puerto Rican, Chicano. My friend Ronnie says they refer to him as a Chicansaures. I often say I am a leftover Chicano, gaining popularity now is the new label Latinx. Many in the Mexican community like to claim an ancestry from Spain. Guess they think it’s’ cooler than being a plain old Mexican.

By A. Govea


Which leads to another question, why do some people shy away from a Mexican heritage? Is it because most Raza here is of Mexican heritage? And you just want to be different or is it because you’d rather be of European descent? I know for me growing up in the 60s they portrayed Mexicans as lazy and in school they were the Alamo murders. I remember shrinking in my seat when Texas history was taught, and they characterized the Mexican army as bad people. And the Whites on the other side as heroes. Because of those narratives, many of us walked around with the burden of being of Mexican descent. I remember people making fun of my lunch of tacos. Of course, kids are always looking to make fun of each other. Pero when your teacher joined in, that is a lot worse, maybe there was something wrong with us. And when I made the mistake of responding to a schoolmate in Spanish, I paid the price. They marched me into the principal’s office and gave me 5 swats with a paddle.So, what did I learn from all this at an early age; Mexican bad, White good. And of course, I was not the only one to learn this early lesson. For that reason, when our generation started having kids, teaching our kids Spanish was not a priority. After all, no one wants to get their children in trouble. This led to a bunch of Mexican Americans that can’t speak Spanish. And some of Spanish speakers making fun of them or correcting every word. I have dealt with this type as well. I call them Spanish-speaking snobs, Pero that is a whole other story.

Then something happened in the late sixties (for me) I awoke to a growing Chicano movement. Also referred to as El Movimimento which was inspired by acts of the resistance in the forties and fifties by the Pachucos. Suddenly I heard and saw signs saying that our community had real value. Brown is

beautiful signs were at any Chicano resistance event. And guess what I and many others started to believe that. Maybe the negative indoctrination that we went through in Elementary wasn’t factual. Maybe there was another side to the story, and we played a positive part in it.

Which leads to why I celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month. The story of the challenges our community endured and overcame is a story I am proud of. It is a story I shared with my family and with young people during the Rites of Passage program I facilitated. And one phrase stands out to me from them “I never knew that” Which is why I still tell those stories in our publication or in person when invited to. After all, how can you be proud of a history you know nothing of? That is a history I am proud as an American of Mexican descent. Our story continues, and with your help, it can only get better. Brown is Beautiful—Ca Vive La Raza!

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