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Hispanic Heritage Month

Natalie Solano

mount students waiting at food truck

As a Hispanic Woman at the Mount, I was grateful to see the amount of attention the school gave to Hispanic Heritage Month. Going to a university where it is predominantly white but also working towards diversity can be very difficult. It is important to see that the school is actively working on issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Hispanic Heritage Month means a lot to me because I am a Hispanic woman who was raised in the Dominican Republic. When I was seven years old, I moved to Philadelphia, PA which was a huge transition for me. I went to school with people that were fluent in English, and I tried to learn the material in English because no teachers in my school spoke Spanish. My sister taught me English while my mother was trying to find a job while also only speaking Spanish. I learned English in six months, and my mother learned it in a year. She got on her feet and gave  my sister and me the best Christmas and Thanksgiving she could the following years. When I am asked "what does Hispanic Heritage Month means to you?” I can answer proudly that it means while my family and I had to go through hard times in moving to the United States, we still made it. I credit that to being Hispanic women: Because we are Hispanic, we are strong.

People often ask me how I learned English so fast or how did my mom get us through this time. Of course, it was hard: I had to redo third grade because the language barrier was extremely difficult. I had to sit in rooms being the outlier because everyone spoke English, and I could not understand what my classmates were talking about. Those times prepare you for the world as a Hispanic woman. Being a woman and a minority, you will always feel like the odd one out when you want to be in those big rooms like a law office or court. These places lack Hispanic women, but those experiences taught me that I can be the change of this.

Since 2018, I have seen progress at the Mount when it comes to getting involved with other cultures. A lot of students are creating clubs for Latinos, and the school is incorporating many activities that have to do with Hispanic heritage. I love the new option at Patriot at the Sauté station where restaurants rotate weekly, and it is all cultured food. For example, we would have Indian food one week, and the next week we would have Cuban food. Even little things like including Hispanic food make my stay at the Mount much better. During Hispanic Heritage Month, the Mount brought a food truck with authentic Mexican food which was amazing.

Additionally, I am the first Dominican cheerleading captain at the Mount, and I am proud of that because the diversity on the team is growing. Our Center for Student Diversity is very involved with Hispanics as they put flags of Hispanic countries all around lower McGowan. The Mount shows me that I can do it as well. The Mount has given me the opportunity to not feel like an outlier. I write this blog for starters because my voice matters on this campus, just like the voices of other Hispanic women matter too. I give tours at this school because admissions trusts me to give prospective students a diverse experience.

Hispanic Heritage Month is more than just a month to celebrate our history; it reminds me every time why I am proud to be a Hispanic woman. The amount of pressure that comes with being a woman already and being a minority on top of this can be difficult, but the world is changing around us, and our voices are being heard. For women my age going to a University like the Mount, our voices are being recognized and the diversity is changing. I am Mount Proud during Hispanic Heritage Month!

Natalie Solano