by Vanessa Libertad Garcia
The Latina Book Club is proud to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with author and filmmaker Vanessa Libertad Garcia. Welcome!
Many of these were born in my childhood before I became aware of the shameful way we were portrayed in American news and movies. Before junior high when white kids and their self-loathing Hispanic sidekicks chuckled while calling me “Pocahontas” and “dumb Mexican”. Long before then, I learned to love being Hispanic when the outside world did not exist and there was just my family.
During those times, they frequently spoke with pride about the entrepreneurial brilliance and loyal hearts of our seaside Cuban people. When my grandmother Mamaita would talk about her native Cuban-Indian grandmother fleeing from cruel Spanish colonialists to live hidden in the mountains “los montes” where she sat daily on a rock in the stream and combed her long strong white hair. When my mother would throw one of her regular Sunday get-togethers and all the Cubans and their Mexican and Puerto Rican friends ages 3 to 85 would dance to Benny More and Celia Cruz and roar a laughter that reverberated in my chest. When my grandfather, once a poor immigrant from the roughest barrio in Cuba “El Barrio De Jesus Maria” who was now an engineer and self-made businessman, would hold my tiny hand in his big rugged tender one and walk me through his aircraft parts manufacturing business. I remember kicking the curled shavings of metal at my feet and feeling profoundly proud.
I could go on about the numerous ways my Hispanic pride grew as I did and how every year it continues to deepen and expand, but my childhood laid down its vital foundation. The penchant my Cuban family has had for honoring the unique power and spirit of their culture during my formative years cemented a pride for my Hispanic roots that remain unshakeable. ♥
Vanessa Libertad Garcia is a Cuban-American writer & filmmaker who has completed a myriad of successful projects in both the film & literary worlds. Her debut book THE VOTING BOOTH AFTER DARK: DESPICABLE, EMBARRASSING, REPULSIVE is available for purchase online at numerous well-known and independent sites such as Amazon.com, Barnes&Noble.com and GiovannisRoom.com. Ms. Garcia is currently in development for her first feature film titled Dear Dios, which is based on the book’s characters, and a collection of love poetry. Visit her at her various links:
http://www.vanessalibertadgarcia.com/ (Main Website)
NEXT: Visit The Latina Book Club on Wednesday for another great post.