Hispanic Cultural Outlets
When my son was a baby people used to ask me "Is he yours?" This was because he was a brown skinned, dark haired little cutie while I'm about as pasty-white as it is humanly possible to be. It has not been easy raising my son to feel connected to both his Irish roots on my side of the family and his Colombian heritage on his father's side.
At school, the other kids didn't always understand my son's orgullo hispano. When he wore his brightly colored Colombian soccer jerseys to school other kids sometimes teased him. By middle school the teasing had progressed to racial slurs.
My son is a young adult now, and I'm pleased to report he is a proud Colombian-Irish-American who doesn't feel the need to minimize or surpress any aspect of his cultural heritage to be accepted by others.
Today, there are a number of fantastic regional festivals celebrating Hispanic heritage in New Jersey, among them being the Latino Festival of Monmouth County, the Keyport Spanish American Festival, and the Flemington Salsa Festival.
The Raices Cultural Center in New Brunswick offers year-round opportunities to delve into the diversity of Latin American music and art, including classes for kids and adults.
As Hispanic Heritage month approaches many museums will also host exhibitions and special events and don't forget to check-out your local library for bilingual children's books and movies.
Multi-cultural families like mine looking for a more personal way to stay connected and find support should consider joining Meetup.com. If you can't find an existing multi-cultural group in your area Meetup makes it easy to create one with just a few clicks.
How does your multicultural family keep the kids connected to their cultural roots? Share your story with me in the comments below.