Bismarck Lepe's earliest memories of spending time with his parents are riding in the family's Ford Granada in the early 1980s as they went from Mexico to Southern California to pick lemons and strawberries, then to the Central Valley to pick apricots, peaches and nectarines, then to northern Washington to pick apples — and then back to Mexico.
In Gridley, California, especially, he remembered how the "brutally cold" mornings would become warm by noon. It became a kind of "Groundhog Day" routine as he followed his parents’ field work, occasionally sharing housing with other migrant workers along the West Coast and knowing just when the high temperatures would become more comfortable.
“I think living those first six years with my parents as they moved from city to city every couple of months allowed me to just be more adaptable,” Lepe told NBC News from Tiburon, California.
Lepe, an "angel" investor (one who primarily backs startups) and the founder and CEO of the outsourced product delivery company Wizeline, recently wrote about his family’s emigration story leaving Mexico and settling in Oxnard, California, in a LinkedIn post that has received hundreds of responses and dozens of comments.
In honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month, professionals like Lepe from San Francisco to Seattle to Miami are reflecting on their family’s history and contributions in celebratory social media posts highlighting their relatives' and ancestors' work and journeys.
“I wasn’t ashamed of being Mexican American, but for many years, I did consider it a handicap,” Lepe wrote. “Everybody around me who was successful spoke English and didn’t look like me."
Lepe remembered his parents’ decision to stop moving for work and make his education a priority when he was of kindergarten age.
It was when Lepe pursued higher education and met other Hispanic and Latino students whose parents worked in a variety of fields — from business to law to medicine — that his perspective widened, and he started to see his multicultural experience as a "superpower."
“My parents showed me that with hard work, anything is possible. Someone can be smarter than you, but if you’re willing to just spend more time at solving a problem, you’re likely to get it done,” he said.
For over five decades, recognizing Hispanic and Latin American lineage has been observed, starting with Hispanic Heritage Week and then expanding to Hispanic Heritage Month in 1988. The reasoning behind sharing the course of the month between September and October reflects the independence days of several Latin American countries, according to Geraldo Cadava, a professor of history and Latino studies at Northwestern University.
“I think I've also seen this year more than other years, people not even calling it Hispanic Heritage Month, calling it Latinx Heritage Month or Latino Heritage Month, just kind of on their own. So, it's also a moment, I guess, in that sense, to appreciate the ways in which conversations about Latinos are also changing,” Cadava said.
“I don’t think you’re going to get any number of Latinos to say that Latinidad means the same thing to them," said Cadava, "and that’s why I think it makes sense that they would be celebrating their own personal stories."
For the Austin, Texas-based apparel and accessories designer Liliana Damaris Pope, learning about a Panamanian American nurse who started the National Association of Hispanic Nurses honored in a Google Doodle inspired her to write about her Afro Latina heritage for the first time on social media.
“My husband showed me that Google had shown this imagery of a Panamanian nurse, and I had not known about her previously, and reading through the information, educating myself, I just felt empowered to share it because I knew that there were other Panamanian people like myself who weren't aware of her contributions,” Pope told NBC News from Austin.
Pope said she was born and raised in a Panamanian and West Indian family in Miami and felt that diversity was a part of her culture and outlook.
Pope said both her mother and grandmother helped her to become better and stronger through their investment in her education and through focusing on “being informed and being kind, and never forgetting your roots, where you come from and always helping your Latin people, and just being proud of identifying as Latina.”
“I was very shy growing up as an only child. So, she really tried to instill in me, don't be afraid to learn. Don't be afraid to ask questions,” Pope said of her late mother, Edna Anayansi Larrier.
That remembrance of imparted love and wisdom is what inspired Yusuf Mehdi, who leads product marketing for Microsoft’s consumer products, to also write for the first time on social media about his mother, María de Lourdes Sotomayor Mehdi.
“My mom championed things like a love of family and family came first and above everything. We’d have Sunday night dinners. We would talk about the family and she was very caring and supportive. That was a big part,” Mehdi, who identifies as Hispanic Latino and shares his father’s Indian ethnicity, told NBC News in Washington.
Mehdi said his mother, who passed away about a month and a half ago, grew up in Mexico City and taught kindergarten and middle school students.
“As a teacher, she taught me a lot about the value of education, about always learning, about having a growth mindset,” he said.
Mehdi wrote about his mother’s love of dance and how her performing “El Jarabe Tapatío,” or the Mexican Hat Dance, to her students helped bring him closer to his heritage and identity.
Mehdi recalled his mother wearing a blue Mexican dress and making him wear a classic charro suit when he was about 10 years old — and then taking him to her job at a Washington-based high school where she performed the hat dance.
“Occasionally, she’d grab me and make me dance with her, which was embarrassing to me as a kid," he said, "but I loved it and the thing that was amazing, I see all of these high school students … they would just break into these smiles."
Mehdi's mother was a first-generation immigrant and met his father, Ishaque, in Washington.
“And to come with that sense of adventuresome spirit to a new country to meet and marry a man from a different country in a different language and to make a life here, she inspired me daily about what it’s like to go and make the most of the world, see the world and grow,” he said.
"You have to look for tomorrow"
Amparo Alvarez was born and raised in northwestern Spain in the city of Orense and worked as an independent seamstress.
“She used to tell you, you have to look for tomorrow, not today. If you have a dollar, don’t spend it today. Save it for a rainy day,” said her granddaughter Ampara, now of Staten Island, New York.
Little did Amparo know that decades later, her great granddaughter, this journalist, would share that heritage on social media.
On a visit to Havana to visit her aunt, Amparo met a Palestinian Arab merchant named Yasin Mohammed Tayeh, whom she would eventually marry. She moved with him to his East Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit Hanina after giving birth to their son.
Decades later, Amparo moved to Brooklyn, New York, where she brought her needlework skills and worked in a loft amid dozens of machines, cutting and sewing school clothing.
Her granddaughter said Amparo never forgot her family back in Spain and often wrote them letters.
Just like for many social media users, telling family stories is a way to keep their Hispanic and Latino legacies alive.
“The more you know something, then the closer you can get to it,” Mehdi said.
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How does social media promote Hispanic Heritage Month? ›
Share Hispanic Heritage Month Quotes on Social Media
Additionally, social media posts that feature quotes are highly “shareable,” which can help amplify your message and boost engagement. This Hispanic Heritage Month, share quotes from Hispanic and Latinx activists, authors, public figures, and more.
Hispanics or Latinos have contributed to American life since the American Revolution, fighting in every war since then. Latinos today continue to advance communities across the country as small business owners, veterans, teachers, and public servants, among many other professions.Who are some Hispanic role models? ›
- Ellen Ochoa. On April 8, 1993, Ellen Ochoa became the first Hispanic woman in the world to go into space. ...
- Joan Baez. ...
- Dolores Huerta. ...
- Selena. ...
- Sylvia Rivera. ...
- Ana Mendieta. ...
- Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. ...
- Julia de Burgos.
Hispanic Heritage Month Theme for 2022 Is 'Unidos: Inclusivity for a Stronger Nation' Stony Brook University is celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month in October with a monthlong series of events under the theme, “Unidos: Inclusivity for a Stronger Nation/Unidos: Inclusividad para una nación más fuerte.”How are companies celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month? ›
There are many ways to celebrate HHM at work. You can feature culturally inspired music, food, film and art, discuss Hispanic and Latino DE&I, host a discussion with Hispanic and Latino leaders or recognize the contributions of Hispanic and Latino employees.How do you wish someone a happy Hispanic Heritage Month? ›
– This month brings happiness to everyone's faces. Wishing you and your loved ones a great day ahead. – Many good wishes on the Hispanic Heritage Month. May you all get to know about Hispanic people's contributions and celebrate their success during this time.Why is Hispanic Heritage Month relevant in our culture today? ›
“It celebrates a vast community of Americans who have made invaluable contributions to the United States for over 300 years,” said Margie Huerta, executive director of the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico.What is the purpose of celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month? ›
National Hispanic Heritage Month traditionally honors the cultures and contributions of both Hispanic and Latino Americans as we celebrate heritage rooted in all Latin American countries.What are some of the important contributions that Hispanics have made to our country? ›
Hispanic workers make up significant shares of some of the most important industries in the U.S. economy. In agriculture and construction, Hispanics make up more than 3 in 10 workers. In hospitality and food service, almost 1 in 4 workers are Hispanic nationwide.Who is the most influential Hispanic person? ›
We cannot mention Cesar Chavez, without also naming Dolores Huerta as one of the most influential Hispanic Americans. Born in New Mexico in 1930, Dolores would go on to become a leading civil rights activist. She met Cesar Chavez in California while working for the CSO, and the two bonded.
Who is the most famous Latina in the world? ›
Jennifer Lopez is one of the most successful and well-known Latina artists and actors. In 2007, she was number 1 of the “100 Most Influential Hispanics” by People en Español. Jennifer Lopez was born in the Bronx, New York on July 24, 1969.
focus on celebrating and paying a tribute to Latinx people and the many contributions that they have provided to our world. Read their literature, read their biographies, recognize their achievements and learn about their contributions.What advice personal or professional would you give to others of Hispanic heritage? ›
The best advice I can give to others of Hispanic/Latinx heritage is to embrace their culture. The world is progressing and starting to appreciate the beauty of diversity because so many of us are starting to be ourselves. It's a beautiful thing and we need to continue to do this to be the change we want to see.Why is family so important in Hispanic culture? ›
The family unit is the single most important unit in the Latino culture. It influences the perception and behavior of its members as to how they see the outside world. Latinas/os see themselves as representing their family in outside contacts. (Implicit control by the family.)How do Hispanic cultures view their family? ›
A Collectivist Culture With Strong Family Values (Familismo)
Latinos tend to be highly group-oriented. A strong emphasis is placed on family as the major source of one's identity and protection against the hardships of life. This sense of family belonging is intense and limited to family and close friends.
Latino families show warmth through hugs and this extends beyond just family members but to anyone who is invited to their home or their social circle. Family is the most crucial above all else and Latinos put family ahead of just about everything else.How do you wish someone a happy Hispanic Heritage Month? ›
– This month brings happiness to everyone's faces. Wishing you and your loved ones a great day ahead. – Many good wishes on the Hispanic Heritage Month. May you all get to know about Hispanic people's contributions and celebrate their success during this time.How do schools celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month? ›
- Read books by Hispanic authors. ...
- Take a spin around the classroom globe. ...
- Try a free language-learning app. ...
- Take a virtual tour of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo's home. ...
- Take a virtual tour of the National Museum of the American Latino. ...
- Bring folklórico dance into your classroom.
Hispanic Heritage Month (HHM) takes place September 15 to October 15 every year as a time to recognize and celebrate the many contributions, diverse cultures, and extensive histories of the American Latino community.What is Hispanic Heritage Month and why is it celebrated? ›
Hispanic Heritage Month (HHM) is celebrated annually from September 15-October 15 to acknowledge the history, culture, and contributions of Americans whose ancestry can be traced to over 20 countries in Latin America, including Mexico, Central and South America, and the Caribbean.
What advice personal or professional would you give to others of Hispanic heritage? ›
The best advice I can give to others of Hispanic/Latinx heritage is to embrace their culture. The world is progressing and starting to appreciate the beauty of diversity because so many of us are starting to be ourselves. It's a beautiful thing and we need to continue to do this to be the change we want to see.What is the theme for Hispanic Heritage Month 2022? ›
Hispanic Heritage Month Theme for 2022 Is 'Unidos: Inclusivity for a Stronger Nation'How is Hispanic Heritage Month celebrated in the workplace? ›
There are many ways to celebrate HHM at work. You can feature culturally inspired music, food, film and art, discuss Hispanic and Latino DE&I, host a discussion with Hispanic and Latino leaders or recognize the contributions of Hispanic and Latino employees.How do you incorporate Hispanic culture in the classroom? ›
- Capture their attention with videos. ...
- Spice up things with a couple new recipes. ...
- Get crafty! ...
- Enhance reading skills and vocabulary, or introduce a new language! ...
- Have students research cultural traditions or famous Latinos.
- Have a Movie Night. Both The Book of Life and Coco can introduce children to time-honored traditions within the culture.
- Get Crafty! ...
- Explore Online Expositions! ...
- Cook a Traditionally Hispanic meal. ...
- Start Spanish Lessons.
Hispanic refers to individuals who are Spanish-speaking or have a background in a Spanish-speaking country. Latino refers to those who are from or have a background in a Latin American country.What does your Hispanic heritage mean to you? ›
Hispanic heritage, to me, is about family, faith, pride and love. How do you and your family celebrate your history and culture? My family and I celebrate our culture and heritage by the way we live our everyday lives. I have grown up being taught that family is everything.What is unique about Hispanic culture? ›
Hispanics come from a collectivistic culture where group activities are dominant, responsibility is shared, and accountability is collective. Because of the emphasis on collectivity, harmony and cooperation in the group tend to be emphasized more than individual function and responsibility (Gudykunst, 1998).Who is an important Hispanic person? ›
We cannot mention Cesar Chavez, without also naming Dolores Huerta as one of the most influential Hispanic Americans. Born in New Mexico in 1930, Dolores would go on to become a leading civil rights activist. She met Cesar Chavez in California while working for the CSO, and the two bonded.What the difference between Mexican and Hispanic? ›
Mexican refers to an inhabitant or a native of Mexico which is a Latin American country. Hispanic refers to a person who speaks Spanish, one of Latin American descent and resides in the USA. In Mexico, Spanish is the main language but that doesn't mean that all Mexicans can and do speak the language.