Luna Mora Feature Writer
The first time I celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month was two years ago. As I completed my first three months of living in the United States, I remember feeling amazed at how my culture was honored and recognized nationally for a month. I remembered feeling appreciated, accepted and valued. This festivity made me feel closer to my country, Colombia, despite being thousands of kilometers away. Seeing the different posters, interviews and events that celebrate Latino culture, transported me to Colombia’s beautiful landscapes. I savored its exotic fruits. I smelled the aroma of freshly brewed coffee that mixes with the scent of fresh flowers. I felt the hugs from friends and family. I saw the warm smiles of people who greeted me across the street. I danced to the beat of the vallenato (an indigenous Colombian musical genre). Seeing other communities and ethnicities celebrate who I am and people like me, gave me a sense of belonging in a foreign land.
Hispanic Heritage month honors and recognizes the contributions and influence of the Hispanic and Latin American culture. It is a way to recognize and honor all the diversity and cultural richness that lies within the Latino community. Each Latin American and South American country has its own traditions, typical food, dialect, and music. We are of different races and have different backgrounds. Nevertheless, we are at the same time united by ancestry, culture, and heritage. We are bonded and characterized by our joyfulness, service, hard work, and perseverance.
Regardless of if we are the first, second, or tenth Latino generation, during this time we are invited to reconnect with our roots and be thankful and proud of our Hispanic and Latino Heritage. I am honored to serve this year as the Latino Student Organization President and bring the organization back on campus. There are more than 160 students at Samford who identify as Hispanic or Latino. Our goal is to create spaces for Samford’s Latino population to unite, share, and celebrate our heritage. We want to bond a strong, close family in which students feel represented, celebrated, loved and accepted. We also look forward to hosting events on campus to share our culture, food, music, art and dances with the entire Samford community.
We are truly blessed to live in a land that celebrates diversity and cultural richness. God created us perfectly in His image. And despite our differences in race, ethnicity, culture and language, we are equally loved in His eyes. Let’s continue to honor, respect and celebrate our differences, for in them we found beauty, strength, and joy.