My Cultural City

It was a dreary, gloomy day, as if to match El Dia De Los Muertos. We arrived at the museum as we do annually; the radiant colors seemed to pop out at me. The dark black contrasted with the glossy orange that seemed to be as loud as the sun. We entered the museum excited as hell (well, at least I was) to see the special exhibitions of the people that have passed away and that had an impact on the Mexican culture. After all, it was El Dia De Los Muertos which we use to remember important people in our lives that have passed away.

There was an exhibition that popped out the most to me; it was of the most important people that created huge changes in Mexico. To see these people stand up for something they thought is wrong, to stand up for a chance to make a difference, it made me realize that's what Chicago is about. We've recently had the March for the Dreamers which shows how together, we can come to make a big difference, and fight for something that benefits not only ourselves but the people we love and care about. This is my Chicago because we have people that have made drastic changes and improvements to our city. It's amazing to notice that both of my worlds seem to have things in common: they take care of one another as if they were family. People’s experiences, memories, and history will forever be remembered in that museum as a way for our generation to learn about our ancestors.

Additionally, as a young Latina teen, I never understood the importance of my culture and heritage. But as my mom started telling me stories and urban legends such as La Llorona, or el chupacabra. I became interested in knowing more about my background. She told me that when she was a young girl growing up, she would always be walking around en El Rancho on those hot summer days with her cousins and siblings exploring their neighborhood. They would get into mischievous trouble and I just happened to realize I do the same thing with my cousins and brothers. Seemingly without noticing, this became a daily summer routine. Staying up late on hot summer days, going to 7-Eleven when we’re craving food or just as a nighttime adventure. But what I can clearly remember from all those hot summer days would be playing soccer in the glistening sun while the cold rain drops rest on my sweaty, glowing skin. Honestly, the best part of all would be getting in trouble with my cousins and brother or having to climb fences to avoid almost getting caught exploring abandoned places. This created a form of connection with my mother to notice we had something of our childhood in common and that made my relationship with my mother stronger.  

This museum made me feel connected to my heritage. More importantly, it made me proud of the Hispanic community in Chicago. What made me feel the proudest would be that, although this isn't Mexico, this museum gives opportunities for teens like me to learn more about back home (Mexico). Also, this can serve as a resource to the people that like to judge my culture without really knowing about it, a chance to see how great we truly are, not only as individuals but as a community. To know we are diverse in culture fills me with excitement to call this my Chicago.

From the 826CHI Student Publication: A Flower Blooming in the Dark

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