National Hispanic Heritage Month is observed Sept. 15 – Oct. 15. In the following Q&A, Carlos Marin, assistant dean for community and cultural engagement, discusses what the month means to him and what he wants others to know about being Hispanic.

Q: How do you identify? What is your national/cultural background?

A: I have always identified as first-generation Mexican-American, but also, as Tejano.

Q: What does Hispanic/Latinx Heritage month mean to you? How do you celebrate or observe?

A: When I read this question or questions like it, it reminds me of a response not too long ago of what another person stated when asked about how he celebrates the month dedicated to his culture. His response was, “Why do we only celebrate for a month and not year-round?” Hispanic Heritage Month to me is family, and I celebrate that year-round!  Not that I don’t think of this often, but at this time in particular, it serves to remind me of how my parents and so many others like them sacrificed and worked so hard to give us “a better life,” and it reminds me of how much more I can do to help our community advance. 

As for observing, I am somewhat private but make it a point to read articles about the other cultures within the Hispanic/Latinx community.   

Q: What would you want people to know or understand about being Hispanic or Latinx?

A: While Hispanic or Latinx are words used to refer to a community, they do not capture the numerous cultures/countries that exist within the Hispanic/Latinx community. What I would like people to understand is that while I identify as Tejano and first-generation Mexican-American, I have never lived in Mexico or in any other country that is trying to be captured when using the words Hispanic or Latinx. I would hope that persons who are not of Hispanic/Latinx descent understand we are more than one people from various rich cultural heritages and that we don’t want to just check a box. As we expect of others, we want to earn what we achieve and be respected for that.

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