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  • Writer's pictureRuby Nambo

What Does it Mean to be Mexican-American?

This poem was performed in Unheard Voices: Cinco De Mayo back in 2017. However, it is not a poem about Cinco De Mayo. Instead, it is more than a single day 'celebrating' the Mexican culture: it is about how culture shapes on one's identity.

What does it mean to be Mexican American?

In my eyes, Mexican American means combing two different backgrounds into one.

Growing up in the U.S. with Mexican culture, tradition and soul, it provides a sense if belonging and comfort.

From making homemade tortillas con mi hermana,

To making the juiciest and fire flaming carne ascada con mi mama,

To baliando Merengue, Salsa and Cumbia con mi papa

and listening to musica con mi hermano,

I develop love for my culture.

Without the love of my culture, I wouldn’t have enjoy it as much as I do right now.

There are many traditions that I grew up and provide great memories in my life.

From making rich and warm poloze to the Abulita hot chocolate that mi mama makes during the old winter days with conchas,

To the cake shoving that mi papa does to everyone in mi famila,

I pass on these pieces of pride to future generations to remember the memories of their ancestors.

Many people that know me often see me dance con the musica.

I dance not because of the beats but because of my soul.

It shapes me of who I am.

Being with mi famila brings me joy because are there for each other,

Especially with support is needed.

To me, family has more value than money because you can lose it within minutes,

But family sticks like glue and paper and stays forever.

My soul also consists of being a Chicana chionga in school and in life,

Along with “Si se Puede!” because it helps me to stay strong and achieve my dreams,

So what does it mean to be Mexican-American?

Does it mean that other cultures can mock it?

Does it mean that people can ‘fake it until they make it’?

Does it mean that we can be one culture for a day and forget it the rest of the year?

Does it mean that I cannot be my own culture because its considered not acceptable?

Does this mean that I cannot have pride with Mexican culture, tradition and soul?

Reading What Does it Mean to be Mexican-American during the Unheard Voices: Cinco de Mayo Event in May 2017 in Ellensburg, Washington.

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