September 15 marks the beginning of Hispanic Heritage Month. Throughout the month, we are connecting with North Highlanders to discuss the importance of their heritage, meaningful traditions and how others can celebrate Hispanic heritage all year long. Today we begin the series with Dr. Kelli Klindtworth, a Principal in our Portland office, and her perspective on the importance of celebrating Hispanic heritage.
What does Hispanic Heritage Month mean to you?
Hispanic heritage month is particularly important because it serves as a time to reflect on our family journey. This year in particular, we are ALL challenged to take a look at the components that make up our world view and understand how our culture shapes us and our attitudes towards the society we live in.
How do you celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month? What are some of your favorite traditions?
My family’s celebrations have changed over the years. When the children were younger, we focused on food, films and phrases that connected us back to our cultures (Catalan and Colombian). Now, as the children have grown older, we try to connect more with literature by reading and discussing a book whose themes and characters mirror the behaviors and attitudes of our family. I am excited this year to introduce Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude.
How would you encourage others to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, both this month and all year long?
There are so many things we believe we know about Hispanic culture, but the reality is it is much richer and more diverse than many realize. This is a great time to dig a little deeper and learn something about a Hispanic group that you may not be familiar with. Randomly and boldly explore using Netflix, Google, Audible, Apple Music or any other platform with curated Hispanic content and be open to falling in love with something new.
Do you have any role models who inspire you to celebrate Hispanic heritage?
We are living in a moment when civil rights activism is more important and prominent than ever. I have long admired the work of Cesar Chavez and his reminder that “we cannot seek achievement for ourselves and forget about progress and prosperity for our community… our ambitions must be broad enough to include the aspirations and needs of others, for their sakes and for our own.”