Embracing Cultural Roots: A Candid Interview for Hispanic Heritage Month

As we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, it’s an opportune time to delve into the rich tapestry of cultural traditions, experiences, and perspectives that shape the Hispanic community. In this candid interview, we had the privilege of sitting down with Kiare, our very own Customer Experience extraordinaire at HOLDEN, who graciously shared her insights and reflections on her Dominican-American identity.

A Journey of Self-Discovery

Born in New York City to Dominican immigrant parents, Kiare’s upbringing was a unique blend of navigating the challenges of being a first-generation American while staying true to her cultural roots. “For first-generation children like myself and my siblings, it’s a bit tougher because we have to figure everything out by ourselves,” she explained.

Kiare’s journey was one of self-discovery, navigating the complexities of embracing her Hispanic heritage while adapting to life in a new country. “It was a very tough upbringing, and not a lot of resources were available to us. It made me stronger in a way, having to figure out things that a lot of people have already figured out because they’ve had help from their family members,” she candidly shared.

Cherishing Cultural Traditions

Despite the challenges, Kiare found solace and joy in preserving her cultural traditions. From the lively sounds of bachata, merengue, and salsa filling her home on Sundays to the vibrant colors and camaraderie of the Dominican parade, these experiences fostered a profound sense of community and belonging.

“Even if you don’t know each other, everyone welcomes you. There’s nothing like getting dressed up in your colors, and there’s a very big turnout in New York City, which is so heartwarming,” Kiare reminisced, her eyes sparkling with fond memories.

Passing on the Legacy

As a mother to her daughter Halo, Kiare is determined to instill a deep appreciation for her Dominican heritage. “I really want her to know she’s Dominican but also to look at how it was created – our partnership with Haiti and La Hispaniola, which is the island that is shared between the Dominican Republic and Haiti,” she explained.

Kiare’s mission is to empower Halo to embrace her dual identity as a Dominican-American, a legacy she herself had to discover and embrace. “I want to teach her that you can be proud to be both American and Dominican, and you don’t have to choose. You can embrace both,” she affirmed.

Celebrating Diversity and Inclusion

Kiare’s journey through higher education at Hostos Community College, an institution she has chosen for HOLDEN to support during Hispanic Heritage Month, was a transformative experience. “When I went to Hostos, six months pregnant, I started seeing a lot of people who were like me – a lot of moms, a lot of Dominican people who were just getting to the US three or four years prior to starting college,” she recounted.

The sense of community and inclusivity at Hostos fostered an environment where Kiare could celebrate her culture while learning about the rich histories and traditions of other Hispanic communities. “They also taught me a lot about my own culture. I learned more about Dominican culture in Hostos than I did at BMCC,” she reflected.

Recognizing Unsung Heroes

For Kiare, Hispanic Heritage Month is a time to honor the sacrifices and contributions of those who may not be widely recognized but have profoundly impacted their families and communities. “My mom may have not opened up a restaurant or changed the world in a way that people would recognize, but she’s changed my world. She changed my siblings’ world,” she shared with reverence.

Kiare’s parents’ courageous journey, leaving everything behind to provide a better future for their children, is a testament to the resilience and determination that characterize the Hispanic community. “They knew that they could be so much more in this country, and that they needed a little bit of Spanish flavor in this country,” Kiare added with pride.

A Call to Action

As we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, Kiare’s candid interview serves as a poignant reminder to embrace our cultural roots, honor those who paved the way, and foster an inclusive environment where diversity is celebrated. By supporting organizations like Hostos Community College, we can ensure that future generations have access to the resources and opportunities they deserve.

Join HOLDEN in celebrating the richness of Hispanic culture by supporting Hostos Community College and embracing the unique stories and perspectives that make our community truly vibrant. Together, we can create a world where every individual can proudly embrace their cultural identity and contribute to a more inclusive society.

10 Questions: Hispanic Heritage Month Edition


What 2 presidents are responsible for Hispanic Heritage Month?

The observation began in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period. It was enacted into law on August 17, 1988.

Why is Hispanic Latino Heritage Month split into 2 months?

Many people wonder why National Hispanic Heritage Month is split between two months. The reason is there were significant victories observed within the months of September and October for the Hispanic/Latinx communities. Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua celebrate their independence on Sept.

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