Throughout Hispanic Heritage Month, we are connecting with North Highlanders to discuss the importance and meaning of their heritage. Today, we connected with Margo Hufstetler Gonzalez, a Manager in Austin, TX, to highlight how she is celebrating her heritage this year.
What does Hispanic Heritage Month mean to you?
Embracing the rich diversity in our society has never been more important. I see this month not just as a celebration of my heritage and time to reflect on how my culture and identity as a Puerto Rican have shaped who I am today, but also as an opportunity to create more understanding and promote inclusivity in a time that society has become increasingly polarized.
How do you celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month? What are some of your favorite traditions?
I live and celebrate my culture and heritage year-round through language, family, food, literature, music and more. My favorite traditions involve gathering with family and friends, always with enough food for three times the amount of people present, and usually ending in singing and dancing. This year, since we can’t gather and celebrate together as usual, I'm still celebrating with food and am determined to learn how to make mallorcas (Puerto Rican sweet bread), one of my favorite treats whenever I'm home.
How would you encourage others to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, both this month and all year long?
I encourage everyone to explore and be open to learning. The beautiful thing about Hispanic and Latinx culture is the wide range of diversity of cultures within it. I am constantly learning from others' perspectives, traditions, and experiences, despite our shared heritage. Pick up a book from a Hispanic/Latinx author or take an online cooking or dance class. Volunteer your time and/or resources, or support a local Latinx or minority-owned business—this can be as simple as ordering take out or purchasing a gift for someone.
Do you have any role models who inspire you to celebrate Hispanic heritage?
I admire those who use their platforms to raise awareness and create real impact for our communities. I'm a huge fan of Lin Manuel Miranda, not only for his creative genius but for using his success to support Puerto Rico's recovery after the devastation of Hurricane Maria. We also recently commemorated Roberto Clemente Day, and more than a baseball hall of famer, he is celebrated widely for his commitment to social justice. He spoke up for racial inequality during the civil rights movement (and led the successful charge to delay Opening Day after MLK's assassination), and gave his life delivering relief supplies to earthquake victims in Nicaragua. In his own words, “If you have a chance to accomplish something that will make things better for people coming behind you, and you don’t do that, you are wasting your time on this earth.”