Me, Aunt Isabel, sister Annie, my mom Mercedes, sister Susan
Community Relations Department
I am one of four children in my family, three girls, and one boy. Our mother is from El Salvador, the small village of Opico. She is the 2nd eldest of ten children. She came to the US when she was 14 to go to school and eventually met and married our father who is white with Irish and German heritage.
One of my fondest memories growing up in a multicultural home was Christmas time. Every year our mom would take out her nativity scene, and this was not a traditional American nativity scene with the manger, holy family, and maybe the wise men and farm animals. This nativity scene was a village that stretched across the whole dining room table and mixed in with the life of the village was the nativity. There were women making tortillas, villagers selling fruit and other food, families going to church and families celebrating, all kinds of animals and activities happening.
The local newspaper had heard about this beautiful nativity scene and came to our house to interview my mom. We were able to hear her share what Christmas was like in her village and how the village scene was much like her village in El Salvador. The focus was not about gifts but about community and being together, sharing food, going to mass, and sharing stories.
Growing up, everything our mother did and still does centers around community and caring for others and I try to apply this to my own work and life. This heritage she passes down to her grandchildren as well, showing her love by making stacks of papusas (traditional Salvadoran food) for them and their friends, telling them stories of her life and life lessons. I am so honored to be Hispanic and to share the culture of community and care with others.