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Hispanic Heritage Month

National Hispanic Heritage Month (NHHM) gives us a chance every year to recognize a vital piece of American culture and history. The month-long festivity honors all communities of Americans whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America. Their vibrant cultures and enduring contributions to American life are celebrated through festivals, community events, art shows, concerts and more.

NHHM begins on September 15, marking the anniversary of independence for several Latin American countries. The celebration continues through October 15, with different themes and actions plans for each week of the month. The main theme for NHHM in 2022 is “Unidos: Inclusivity for a Stronger Nation.” The Federal Government has expanded on this theme with emphases on jobs, climate, mental health and more throughout the month.

In honor of NHHM, First Tech’s own Stephanie Zepeda, a SAM Specialist II in California, shared her experiences growing up as a first generation Mexican American:

I am first generation born in the US. Both my parents and grandparents were born and raised in Mexico. My parents came to the states in their teens and eventually got their citizenship thanks to the Amnesty Act in the 1980’s.

Since I was a child, we would visit our family in Mexico usually every summer, so I have plenty of memories by the beach in Sinaloa and at my dad’s family ranch in Jalisco. I have a huge family on both sides; my mom is one of 10 siblings, and my dad is one of 12 siblings, which meant our gatherings were always filled with lots of food, music, and laughter. My maternal grandma would teach me how to make tortillas from scratch and my paternal grandma showed me how to milk the cows at the ranch.

I’m incredibly proud to be Mexican American and enjoy celebrating the traditions from my culture, especially food since preparing it was also a bonding experience between the women in my family. As an adult, my mom and now mother-in-law have kept teaching me traditional dishes to make like tamales, pozole, ceviche, and chilaquiles. I will continue the traditions with my future children and teach them how beautiful our culture and Spanish language is.

We’d like to thank Stephanie for sharing her story with us, and we hope everyone is celebrating a happy and healthy National Hispanic Heritage Month!