|A distant cousin captured this photo of Rhodie, New Mexico, the town my father’s family is from.|
When people ask me what part of Mexico my family is from, I always get tongue-tied.
I can’t really put a Michoacan or Sinaloa sticker on the back of my car. There aren’t any immediate family members to visit in Mexico. I am, in fact, Mexican-American. Soy Latina. You see, my family is Mexican-American but my family has been living here in the U.S since the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed in 1848.
What does this mean?
It means my family has been living in the American Southwest for over one hundred years. After the Treaty of Hidalgo was signed: California, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, parts of Wyoming, Colorado and Texas ceased being a territory of Mexico. Mexican citizens were now faced with this option: relocate down South to Mexico or receive American citizenship with full civil rights. An astonishing 90% remained firmly in place. In that group of Mexican people were my people.
I have deep Native American roots on my father’s side. Mescalero Apache, to be exact. My tata has burnt-umber colored skin, straight black hair and a Spanish tongue. My mother’s side of the family has been in California for a long time too, spanning about three generations. Earlier this year, my sons and I embarked on an extensive family tree search. It was amazing to find out the names of our ancestors, and to explore the areas in which they lived.
When I think back on their plight–stay put and become American citizens with “full rights”–I wonder what I would have done. Uproot my entire family and head South? South? To what, exactly? To an area unknown, to opportunities unknown, to be away from family…I don’t know if I could’ve done it.
However, those that leave do so to find a better life for themselves. Like so many immigrants have done before us, you make the sacrifice so you can raise your children, be prosperous, free and be happy.
I’m happy to announce that I am one of a group of Latina bloggers from across the country chosen to represent Latism’s Top Blogueras. Last year, Latism hosted the Top Blogueras at the White House.
This year, we’ll be at the UN!
I can’t believe in less than 24 hours I will be in NYC! I am honored and excited beyond belief. Today I’ll hop on a plane traveling to New York City, to meet my fellow top blogueras who are ready to take it to “The Next Level”. I will also be attending Latism ’13 conference as well. I am so excited! Did I mention how excited I am?
It’s NYC, people.
I can’t wait to take in the sights and sounds of NYC. We’ll be staying at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel, just a few blocks away from Central Park and–be still my heart–the Museum of Modern Art. MoMA has been on my bucket list since I was a teenager–I really hope I can squeeze in time to go.
Pinch me so I know that this is real. What a dream! NYC, the UN and meeting a group of amazing, like-minded Latinas who are eager to speak for their families and share their passion.
Follow my journey.