Draft 2

Latino Heritage Month is an opportunity to pay tribute to the generations of Hispanic and Latin Americans who have enriched our nation. This month we’re taking this time to reflect on the strength of diversity and the ways we can better amplify the cultural wealth that lives within each of our students and colleagues.

Latino Heritage Month, also known as National Hispanic Heritage Month, has also provided us an additional opportunity to recognize our students' rich stories and elevate their diverse voices. In each of these creative works, Green Dot students invite readers into their world and share a glimpse of their culture and lived experiences.

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“No Soy de Aquí, Ni Soy de Allá’ by Tommy Ayala

This piece tied first for high school writing submissions in the 2021 Ánimo Voices Writing and Art Competition, which invited students to express the reality of the challenges they or others face and/or how they or others find hope through difficult times.

Born in Inglewood on December 18, 2002, Tommy Ayala embarked on a world that was not suited for people like him. Unbeknownst to Tommy, being a son of an immigrant family is a handicap in America. To the majority of the population, it is an insult to let his existence leech off of the success of the American nation. Later down the road, Tommy will begin to think along those lines too.

Who’s at fault here?

With a family that will eventually have 10 people in total, 4 sisters, 4 brothers, and a mother and a father, Tommy lived life in a house with only one bedroom, one kitchen, and one bathroom. Clearly, they weren’t a well-off family, with cockroaches crawling during the middle of the night, the sink water stopping in intervals, and the bath towels never being washed or replaced, Tommy and his family did the most with what they had. Tommy had to learn to be self-reliant from an early age.

Keiry Valle

"Mother." by Keiry Valle

This piece tied first for high school writing submissions in the 2021 Ánimo Voices Writing and Art Competition, which invited students to express the reality of the challenges they or others face and/or how they or others find hope through difficult times.

The last time I saw my mother it was a rainy and cold day, those where you can feel how your nose and fingers get numb and you have to hurry to put on a sweater. The sky had turned into ash-gray and the wind was indeed warm, but accompanied with rain it could make even the strongest man shake. My mom and I were on our way to the airport because I was going back to Los Angeles from El Salvador, my homeland. We were sitting in the back seats, so I decided to lay down on her legs and look outside the window. The rain looked so pretty, as well as my mother's eyes, I always thought that she was the prettiest woman I had ever seen. Her curly hair, her short height, her voice, her intelligence, I could never be more proud of being her daughter. 

Amy Manzo Mendez

"A story to be told" by Amy Manzo Mendez

This piece placed first for middle school writing submissions in the 2020 Ánimo Voices Writing and Art Competition, which invited students to consider a change they’d like to see in their community or the world.

“Cesar Chávez, he was an inspirational man. He helped many of my people”, said the old man as the excited children around him sat and listened with awe. “I don't know if I remember the story that well, but I'll try to tell as much as I can. It all started a long time ago, when he became a migrant farm worker, oh but wait, you little children don't even know who Cesar Chavez is. Then I'll have to start from the very beginning.”

The children desperate to hear about the hero they've heard so much about couldn't sit still. “Queremos oír la historia, tell us the story… please?” the little boy begged.

“Alright, alright, if you want to hear the story, you'll have to be quiet. Ok?” The children agreed and finally sat still to listen.

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An Untitled Story by Rachel Sanchez

This piece was featured in the 2021 Ánimo Voices Writing and Art Competition, which invited students to consider a change they’d like to see in their community or the world. 

I am a Latina woman. Though I was born here, I have Mexican blood running through my veins, and that is something that I am extremely proud of having. In my community, we have always faced the struggles of racism. “Wetbacks, beggars, and illegals,” are just a couple words that the people in my community have been called. Something that many people tend to overlook though, is that my people are one of the most hardworking people you will have ever seen or known. You can see us everywhere! Selling refreshing fruit in the hottest of days and such beautiful flowers in the middle of the street for whenever you forgot a small gift for a loved one. We landscape your gardens. Pick your fruits and veggies. We do the majority of the hands on labor this country needs. All to support our families. Even in the most tragic situations, you can see an old man out there with his bucket of flowers when he should be at home resting. And that is something that I am extremely honored to be a part of.