Part II: Celebrating Hispanic Heritage with PBS Latino Americans Series

This is part of a compensated campaign with Latina Mom Bloggers and Ford.  However, all opinions expressed are our own.

As you know, we’re huge fans of Ford Motor Company.  Besides Cristy’s family owning a Ford F-150 and sharing a beloved Mustang with her dad years before(!), we’ve collaborated with Ford on the STEM component of our #CelebrateEDU series throughout 2013.  When we found out Ford Motor Company was the sponsor of PBS’s new series LATINO AMERICANS, we were thrilled to provide our support.  In a twist to our normal posts, this story is written by our “Abuelo in Chief” and Spanish Editor, Sergio Clavijo.  As you will read he has a great love for the series and this story. And, who better to share about our Hispanic Heritage than our abuelos?  Read the first installment here.  And be sure to scroll down for the version en español!

By Sergio Clavijo, Los Tweens Abuelo in Chief & Spanish Editor

The Clavijo Family

The Clavijo Family in Havana, Cuba circa 1964

“To remember is to live again” says an old proverb. The second episode of Latino Americans in PBS, sponsored by the Ford Motor Company, made ​​me relive my departure from Cuba and arrival in the United States. The program also made me think back on all the years of struggle to achieve success, personal development and the well-being of my family.

I share the feeling that Carlos Capó, one of the founders of the El Dorado furniture stores, expressed during the program when he says “it was very difficult to leave my family.”

I also remember the precise moment of my departure, I especially think of my mother, grandmother and two younger sisters. And I can feel the warmth of my father’s embrace when he told me, “be strong, we’re counting on you.” It’s like a photo printed indelibly on my memory. I was eighteen years old in the summer of 1963 when I left my homeland to fight my way to a freedom we were being denied under a political system alien to the entrepreneurial spirit of our people. I also hoped to reunite our family.

Ford Spanish Tag Logo

Without doubt, the road has not been easy. Cubans due to our special ‘status’ as political refugees have received benefits other Hispanics may not have enjoyed entering the United States. But, invariably, as immigrants we experience the barriers faced by others for simply being the “different”. There are times that the attachment to our language and customs, our desire not to be assimilated fully because we have deep roots and valuable traditions, earn us disapproval and hostility in some sectors of the population who misinterpret  this behavior. The writer Julia Alvarez during the Latino Americans program tells us “we must hold on to certain things that are important.” We know that taking pride in our Hispanic heritage does not reduce the ability we have to appreciate and defend the positive values ​​of our new home in North America. We have proved this with our work and sacrifices, and with our contribution in the form of millions of new and loyal American citizens. Using the words of former Puerto Rican U.S. Congressman Herman Badillo, “we are here to participate.” In fact, Hispanics will continue to participate and contribute, in all aspects, towards the success of the United States.

Gracias Ford for the opportunity to share this great series with our family during Hispanic Heritage Month. As my father used to say ‘pa’lante y pa’lante’ – translation- keep moving forward!

Los Tweens shares the PBS Series Latino Americans during Hispanic Heritage Month

Sergio "Pa" and Cristy

Sergio “Pa” and Cristy

En Español

“Recordar es volver a vivir” dice un viejo refrán. El segundo episodio de la serie Latino Americans en PBS, patrocinada por la Ford Motor Company, me hizo revivir mi salida de Cuba y llegada a los Estados Unidos. El programa también me hizo pensar de nuevo en todos los años de lucha por lograr éxito, desarrollo personal y bienestar para mi familia.

Comparto el sentimiento que Carlos Capó, uno de los fundadores de las mueblerías El Dorado, expresó durante el programa cuando dice “fué muy difícil dejar a mi familia”.

Yo también recuerdo el momento preciso de la despedida –sobre todo de mi madre, abuela y dos hermanas más jóvenes. Y siento el calor del abrazo de mi padre al decirme, ‘sé fuerte, contamos contigo’. Es como una foto impresa indeleblemente en mi memoria. Yo tenía dieciocho años en el verano del 1963 y partí fuera de mi patria para abrirme paso hacia la libertad que se nos estaba negando bajo un sistema político ajeno al espíritu emprendedor de nuestro pueblo. Y con la esperanza de reunir a nuestra familia.

Sin duda, el camino no ha sido fácil. Los cubanos, debido a nuestro ‘status’ especial como refugiados politicos hemos contado con beneficios que otros hispanos quizás no han disfrutado. Pero como immigrantes al fin experimentamos las barreras que enfrenta el que es “distinto”. Hay veces que el apego a nuestro idioma y costumbres, nuestro deseo de no ser asimilados totalmente porque tenemos raíces profundas y tradiciones valiosas, nos ganan desapruebo y enemistad en algunos sectores de la población que lo interpretan erróneamente. La escritora Julia Alvarez nos dice durante el programa que “hay que aferrarse a ciertas cosas que son importante”. Nosotros sabemos que sentir orgullo por nuestra hispanidad no reduce la capacidad que tenemos de apreciar y defender los valores positivos de nuestro nuevo hogar en Norteamérica. Lo hemos probado con nuestro trabajo y sacrificios, y con nuestra contribución en la forma de millones de nuevos y leales ciudadanos. Usando las palabras del que fué Congresista Herman Badillo, “estamos aquí para participar”.  Los Hispanos continuaremos participando y contribuyendo, en todo los aspectos, al éxito de los Estados Unidos. Como decía mi padre, “pa’lante y pa’lante”.

More on LATINO AMERICANS: 

When: LATINO AMERICANS will air on PBS on September 17thSeptember 24th, and October 1st from 8:00 – 10:00 p.m. (EST).

What: LATINO AMERICANS is a three-part, six-hour series will document the history and experiences of Latinos, who have helped to shape North America over the last 500 years.

LATINO AMERICANS will premiere in Spanish on Vme TV with a new chapter every Friday at 10 pm EST, beginning September 20 through October 25. For local listings, please visit www.vmetv.com.

Follow Ford en Español on Facebook.

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Cristy Clavijo-Kish

Cristy is the founder and publisher of Los Tweens & Teens, as well as the co-CEO & partner of DiMe Media, based in Miami. Born to Cuban parents, she’s a ‘Jersey Girl’ who is the proud mom of twin teens and wife to her college sweetheart, a “gringo” with a Latino soul! Cristy is also a teen cancer survivor, lover of travel, tech, good food, all-things beauty related, family cooking and social sharing.

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