Cultural Connection: Hispanic Lineage


Sarah Ramirez and Mia Riverra

By Anzor Mustafa, Staff Writer

Discussing their Hispanic ties for Hispanic Heritage Month, Senior Mia Rivera and sophomore Sarah Ramirez converse about their links to Hispanic culture as the month comes to an end.

A month meant to celebrate and honor the impact of those with Spanish, Mexican, and Caribbean descendant on American history; September 15 through October 15 is Hispanic Heritage Month.

From Puerto Rico, Sarah Ramirez is entirely fluent in Spanish. She was immersed in the language growing up and prospects how imperative language is to her interpersonal identity. Correspondingly, she visits Puerto Rico— with her family every summer, for a couple of months. “It’s a huge part of my life,” she stated. Furthermore, Ramirez proceeds to say, how inextricably tied her sense of self is to her culture. Mia Rivera, who’s also Puerto Rican, and Colombian, agrees with Ramirez.  Her ties to her culture are, “Very significant and make me who I am.”

Despite their similarities, Sarah and Mia convey their cultural connections in diverse ways. Mia Rivera closely associates her culture with her family. “I love how we spend so much time with my family and are always getting together.” She further elaborated that she is extremely close with her extended family. “I constantly hang out with all of  my cousins.” Both food and music unify her family. Riverra specified, “Spanish music is one of my favorites, and the music brings us all together.”

On the other hand, Sarah remarked the paramount role—food and dance play in her perception of Hispanic culture.  History and dance are closely tied, and history is told through the outlet of dance. Additionally, food is equally important. Dishes like Arepas, Pico de Gallo,  and Tostones are just some of Ramirez’s personal favorites. 

Hispanic individuals still largely face prejudice and racism on a disproportionate scale.  Many are targets of voter suppression, hate crimes, and perpetual stereotypes. Sarah Ramirez discussed her own experience with racism. At a store one day, as she was looking around, Ramirez was accused of stealing despite not doing anything wrong. Believing it was because of her skin color, Ramirez felt discouraged and uncomfortable.

In a majority white town, she noted, “At certain times, there is a kind of expectation to fit in.” Mia does not feel the need to conform. In middle school, she hated her curly hair and straightened it every day. Although, she went on to say, “Now I love my curls and embrace them. They make me stand out and are who I am. I get so many compliments and I love my curly hair.” 

Now, both Sarah and Mia take Spanish at Wayne Hills and thoroughly enjoy it.

“Family and determination” best highlight their culture they said. With Hispanic Heritage Month coming to a close, they hope people continue to respect and appreciate their lineage every day.