Between normative Latinx representation, having family members and being of Mexican descent, and growing up and attending college in the Northeast, where most Latinx folks I knew were Puerto Rican, how I have conceptualized latinidad has often centered Mexican and Puerto Rican cultures. When I was in fourth grade, my father came into class to talk about Chicano culture and customs; it was fun and games, literally: there was a piñata he brought for afterward. Then, when I was in fifth grade, we were assigned a research paper (or as close to one as a ten year old can write) on a historical figure and my parents suggested I write on Benito Juarez, who my father and I are descendant of. The school library, however, held no books on Mexican history. I forget who I wrote of instead, but know that they were probably white, male, and a US citizen. From that point on, I became grateful enough for spaces in which Mexican-American culture and history were mentioned at all that, like many, I failed to notice where it went awry in either subtle erasures or full-blown nationalism pivoted against Central America. While some, though certainly not enough, allies understand and speak of the need for DACA, fewer still have been fighting to save TPS, which Trump recently announced plans of cutting. This week I’d like to encourage folks who are not descendent of or from Central America to learn more about issues the region is facing and what is being asked of allies and accomplices, including information on the history of US intervention in El Salvador as well as a movement to save TPS.
I also recommend checking out writings from Central American writers or writers of Central American descent, including:
There’s So Much Room Underneath an Upturned Boat by Javier Zamora in The Adroit Journal
An interview with Christine Stoddard for Carpe Noctem
Día de los Muertos by Roy Guzmán in Winter Tangerine
Literally anything by Yesika Salgado