6 Reasons I Am Proud To Be An Honorary Latina During This Special Month

by Shinjini Das

Feliz Mes de la Herencia Hispana!

Each year, from September 15 to October 15, America recognizes the diverse array of contributions from Hispanic and Latino Americans to the United States while celebrating the vibrant heritage and culture.

Ever since high school, I have always felt a strong affinity for the Hispanic culture, perhaps because the Hispanic and Indian cultures have several similarities.

Growing up, I became fluent in Spanish and will forever hold a deep connection with mi familia Latina de todo el mundo.

In November of last year, I led a workshop, "Vámonos a Nuestro Futuro!" on college readiness for the Latin American Association, and I legitimately consider myself an honorary Latina.

Here are six reasons why:

1. Festive spirit and a contagious zest for life

The Latin American culture prides itself on living like there is truly no tomorrow.

There is a contagious zest, excitement and happiness with which my brothers and sisters live life, and it's incredibly inspirational to me.

Their upbeat spirit and passion for life is a quality we must all emulate on a daily basis. What better way to live than freely, fully and completely every day?

2. Vibrant optimism and gratitude for all of life’s blessings

There is a certain gratitude I have seen in all of my Hispanic friends.

It's a reminder to be consistently grateful — no matter how tough the challenges — for life’s blessings because we are all so very lucky for the opportunities we have in the incredible country we live in.

Honestly, life is so much more special when lived with gratitude for our blessings.

3. Focus on nurturing deep relationships with family and friends

In the Indian culture, there is an extraordinary focus on building and maintaining very close-knit relationships with friends and family. This is the exact quality I have pinpointed in my Hispanic friends.

Each family gathering is a vibrant occasion with enough laughs, smiles and chatter to last a lifetime.

This focus on family and friends reminds us of the truly important factors in life, all while helping to ground us in reality. It is one of the many reasons I am proud to be an honorary Latina!

4. Emphasis on celebrating our roots and heritage

What I genuinely love about the Latin American culture is the emphasis my brothers and sisters place on celebrating their unique heritage. As an immigrant myself, I am incredibly proud of my culture.

I believe we are much stronger if we choose to celebrate our culture and roots, while contributing these perspectives to the beautiful melting pot of America.

5. Authenticity in preserving our own sense of self

In Latino culture, there is a clear emphasis on maintaining authenticity in every aspect of our lives. My Hispanic friends are very unapologetic about owning who they are every single day of their lives, and I would like to see more people embracing themselves in such a beautiful and powerful way.

I am proud to preserve, celebrate and own my sense of self. You should be, too!

6. Fluency in another language at home

Several of my Hispanic-American friends speak Spanish at home, and I think this is a brilliant way to preserve our culture. I myself am fluent in multiple languages, and I truly think it is a brilliant way to celebrate our uniqueness and maintain a relationship with our heritage.

My Hispanic-American friends are extremely proud of their heritage, culture and language. This is an incredible tribute to our roots, and it's one I am proud to celebrate!

There is so much to learn from the Latin-American culture, and the above are just six of the many reasons I am so proud to be an honorary Latina.

Looking forward, I am energized and incredibly thrilled to witness the millions of ways in which Hispanic-Americans will continue to contribute their unique gifts to America!

As of 2014, the Hispanic population reached a new high of 55.4 million, and with the population poised to grow, we can be sure that the scale of contributions will grow as well!

Vámonos Los Latinos Unidos y Feliz #HispanicHeritageMonth!

Celebramos nuestra cultura juntos!