As of this writing, National Hispanic Heritage Month is well underway and will soon be but a fleeting memory. However, the essence of the celebration should be maintained at the forefront of thought as the year 2011 wraps up and 2012 unfurls. This is the perfect time to review the collective accomplishments of notable Hispanics and utilize them as potential role models for future generations. In acknowledgement of my Hispanic Heritage, I wish to provide you with a personal perspective of this milestone celebration that was designed to stoke the fire of passion, as well as instill ethnic pride within the hearts of Hispanic youths throughout the nation by focusing a spotlight on the myriad contributions of prominent Hispanics in mainstream America.
The underlying message of this national observance is crystal clear, and can be simply summed up as follows: one’s potential for success is not circumscribed by an individual’s familial origins or current social status. In other words, access to the door to success is possible for any determined individual regardless of genetics! Hard work and perseverance are the key ingredients with which to realize any dream of merit. We will highlight a few prominent examples of Hispanics who undoubtedly made significant contributions in the whirling kaleidoscope of occupations contained within the entertainment industry and in the political arena. These visual reminders of success can serve as beacons of hope for the future generations in these uncertain economic times.
It surely comes as no surprise to many that Hispanics is the fastest growing minority group in the nation. It is evident as we look around us and see billboards strategically splashed with Spanish words, Hispanic pop stars and TV programming specifically targeted to a Hispanic audience. Hispanics have become an integral part of mainstream America. The launch of National Hispanic Heritage Month initially began as a weeklong observance in 1968 under the Johnson administration. It was designed as an event to unite Hispanics throughout the nation as well as showcase traditions and cultural observances representative of the myriad countries from which these Spanish-speaking immigrants came from. This is a perfect way to honor both the new ways and old.
The list of the famous Hispanic icons is rather long, so I will stick to my personal favorites. Rita Moreno left an indelible mark on the entertainment industry with her renowned gyrations in the Spanish version of “Romeo and Juliet” –West Side Story. Ay Caramba! is the signature mantra of Desi Arnaz better known as Ricky Ricardo whenever he had to deal with one of the numerous antics of his fireball wife, Lucy in “I Love Lucy”. Kudos go to Sonia Sotta Mayer, a determined woman who made it through the ranks to become the first Hispanic to be a Supreme Court Judge. I do have to throw in one for my daughter’s generation- Shakira – a wonderful vocalist and entertainer. We also can’t forget Jennifer “Jenny from the Block” Lopez.
These individuals’ lives and accomplishments can be a great source of inspiration to all children regardless of background or heritage.
As the year draws to a close and a new one begins, we all need to review where we stand in life and where we want to go. Take pride in yourself no matter what your heritage is, and rediscover traditions that have faded from view over the years. Realize that the potential to be great lies in every one of us, and the only one who can deny us is ourselves. Unleash your imagination and soar the skies!
This Article was Written by Jackie Kingston.
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