September: A Month of Celebrations and Time for Reflection
In the last three years we have seen how anti-immigrant sentiments have been triggered by Trump’s behavior and how they have changed the landscape for Latinos in the United States. Traditionally the month of September is a month of celebration about the contributions we’ve made to this great country, and also a month to share our culture, our food and our traditions. With the current anti-immigrant climate, who doesn’t worry about their own safety when attending an event where a culture other than America’s mainstream culture is celebrated? Who doesn’t wonder what we would do or how we would respond if the people around us started harassing us simply because we had a different skin color, or because we had an accent when speaking?
I have lived in Alaska for 36 years and have never felt this intense concern born from what is happening in the rest of the United States. Today, around different parts of our country verbal and/or physical harassment takes place, and many minority groups, especially Latinos are at risk of being annihilated by someone who feels they have the right to “cleanse” the existence of “invaders” to “their” country. This ethnic cleansing is fueled by comments from Donald Trump when he talks about how to deal with immigrants.
This September will be difficult for Latinos to confront the reality of anti-immigrant and racist sentiments, but we must move on. We must show the world to recognize and understand that we are people with similar values of family, of love for our neighbors, and love for our homeland, the United States. Let’s remember that part of our Latino identity comes from being descendants of the great indigenous civilizations from this continent (Aztec, Mayan, Incan, to name a few.) Civilizations that for many years before the arrival of the European colonizers were already great! Let us also not forget that in 1848 the United States annexed the territories of Texas, New Mexico, Utah, Nevada, California and part of Wyoming, Arizona, Colorado, Kansas and Oklahoma after signing the Treaty of Hidalgo in which they “compensated” Mexico with just $15 million.
We cannot continue to allow others to take advantage of us, or to decide our future, even more important, let us not allow them to steal it from us once again. September is still a month to celebrate our Latino roots, and to remember why we celebrate!
(Al Indio de Las Américas)
Yunque forjador de Las Américas
morador de la cuna de mil años
celoso centinela de la tierra
umbral donde duermen tus antaños
Antes de las carabelas, eras tú
eras tú, antes de Fernando y Castilla
antes del genovés tu imperio reinaba
con la nobleza que te caracteriza
Naciste libre, entre hermanos unidos
siendo cada uno tan igual como el otro
tu nación prosperaba bajo El Gran Espíritu
siendo esa riqueza más que plata y que el oro
Del otro lado del horizonte
muchos oyeron tus tambores y hazañas
y porque eras grande un regalo les diste:
el comienzo de un nuevo mañana
Aunque han sido muchos los que han tratado
de empañar los siglos de tu historia
no hay quien turbe la corriente de tus aguas
ni quien borre del mundo tu memoria
Ni quien se gloríe de tus logros como suyos
ni quien robe tus laureles por la espada
pues antes de ellos, ¡eras tú, eras tú, Indio!
¡la razón y el porqué de la jornada!
José Luis Silva-Díaz