Diversity Dialogue: Araceli Salas, Hispanic Heritage Month

My name is Araceli Salas; I am Mexican American and the daughter of Mexican immigrants. My parents migrated to Texas in the 80s during President Ronald Reagan’s term. During that time, obtaining residency was not as tough as now. My mom mainly raised me, and coming to an entirely new country was an extreme culture shock to her. My mom did not know how to speak English, let alone get around the town we grew up in. She relied on neighbors and friends she made to take us to school, doctor’s appointments, and school events. My siblings and I became my mom’s translators and navigators. As young as I could remember, we were responsible for many things that parents usually would take care of due to my mom being unable to communicate in English.

Coming from a new country where she lived in poverty, my mom was determined for her kids to have the best opportunities possible. We always attended every day of school and always attended mass every Sunday. She installed That piece of home in us and continued the tradition in a new country. We always gathered around on Sunday after mass for a delicious home-cooked meal.

I became the first generation in my family to graduate high school, attend a university, and graduate with my bachelors. Being proud of who we are and achieving a significant milestone means coming together to celebrate big. I am incredibly grateful to work for an organization such as Volunteers of America that encourages a diverse atmosphere and allows us to express our cultural traditions. I am proud to be led by women, most notably women of color, representing the Hispanic heritage. It encourages me to work harder and strive for the best!

When I think about my culture, I think about my entire family gathering to enjoy a delicious meal. We celebrate and keep our roots alive by coming together to make a fantastic meal representing our Mexican culture. We work hard to express our culture’s greatness and build that generational legacy. If it weren’t for my mom’s sacrifices, I would not be where I am today. She is a woman who left everything and everyone behind to bring her kids into a new country with new opportunities. She has been in the United States for almost four decades and has been a U.S. citizen for a decade now. She has always kept our traditions alive and continues to do so. I plan to do the same with my growing family!

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