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  • Elena Zeballos

Keeping Pride Alive

My name is Elena Zeballos. I am half Hispanic and half Caucasian. My Abuelito was invited by the US government to live in the USA for medical research. In exchange, he moved his entire family from Peru, and they were granted US citizenship. For me that is the American Dream. My family gave up everything to help others and in return they were granted a home here. They left behind their friends, family, and my Abuelita even had to raise four boys in a country where she did not know the language! But those four boys are now successful doctors, and she is a proud grandmother of eleven. Ever since I was little, I have been raised to be proud of my heritage. My Abuelitos constantly told me about how I am descended from the Incan emperors and Spanish royalty. My ethnicity is such a strong part of me, and it has literally integrated itself into my outgoing personality, strength and confidence in who I am. So, you can imagine my dismay as I progressed through school and found no representation of ANY South American stories. I remember pouring through textbooks hoping to find anything about the Incas, but to no avail. So, I took my studies into my own hands, researching the history of my people on my own to keep these stories alive. We learn the impact of the Greeks, Romans, English, and Chinese but nothing of the Latin American Countries. I have spent my whole life learning about these other cultures so in seventh grade I was elated to learn that there would be a unit on Latin American cultures! Finally! But this was a month-long independent power point that we presented to the class and that was it. We did not get to pick the culture it was randomly assigned so you only personally learned about a fraction of Latin American stories. The entire history of my people condensed into a PowerPoint that the teacher could not even bother to teach us. That is why I would like to diversify the curriculum. There are so many cultures in the world who have given us so much and influenced the world in ways we do not even know and therefore we cannot even give them credit! I would like to have others feel represented so that way those who don’t already have the strength and confidence in themselves can find their footing, and others can learn that Europe and the USA are not the whole world. I believe that it is important to diversify the curriculum so that everyone can see themselves in history and learn to be proud of where they come from and to help us understand each other more. After all, we fear what we do not know. We must remember that America is a country of Immigrants and a melting pot of so many stories that deserve to be heard. Because if we do not teach those stories now who will remember them?

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