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Celebrating Our Latino Heritage with Family Stories and PBS’ Latino Americans #LatinosFord

 This is part of a campaign with Ford.  However, all opinions are my own.

Hispanic Heritage Month is upon us, and what better way to celebrate than by watching the Latino Americans series on PBS  with your family!  This provides the perfect time to spend quality time together to share personal family stories with your children while learning more about all the contributions that Latinos have made to our country.

Latino Americans

Latino Americans is a three-part, six-hour series that documents the history and experiences of Latinos, who have helped to shape North America over the last 500 years. It is a story of immigration and renovation, and the anguish and celebration that Hispanics have faced to achieve a better life for themselves and their families. The series features interviews with Puerto Rican star of West Side Story, Rita Moreno; Mexican-American author and commentator Linda Chavez, who also became the highest ranking woman in the Reagan White House; and Cuban singer and entrepreneur Gloria Estefan.

Ford Spanish Tag Logo

Our friends at Ford understand the impact that Latinos have made in our communities, and is one of the most respected brands among many Latinos because of their multi-faceted and on-going commitment. We are honored to be working with a brand like The Ford Motor Company who provided corporate funding for the Latino Americans series. Learn more about what Ford is doing in the Latino community by following Ford en Español on Facebook and Ford en Español Twitter.

The final two episodes of Latino Americans will air on PBS on Tuesday, October 1st from 8:00 – 10:00 p.m. (EST), and Latina Mom Bloggers and the thirty bloggers listed below will be live-Tweeting as they watch the episodes with their families. Join the conversation by following Ford on Twitter (@FordEspanol) and the #LatinoAmericans, #LatinosFord, #LatinosPBS hashtags. Please check your local listings to confirm air times in your city. If you or your family prefer to watch the series in Spanish, Latino Americans will air on Vme TV with a new chapter every Friday at 10 pm EST through October 25. For local listings, please visit www.vmetv.com.

From Mexico, Cuba and Uruguay: Sharing Our Personal Family Stories

In the spirit of celebrating our Latino heritage, the Latina Mom Bloggers team wanted to share our our own personal stories about how our families came to the United States and the struggles and triumphs that they faced.

Angela's paternal great-grandmother (center) with her children right before they left Mexico in 1917 to meet up with her husband in Texas.

Angela’s paternal great-grandmother (center) with her children right before they left Mexico in 1917 to meet up with her husband in Texas.

Angela Sustaita-Ruiz (3rd generation Mexican–American/Texan)
I have always been fascinated by the stories about how my family left Mexico, and how my great-grandmother traveled through northern Mexico into Texas alone with her four children during the Mexican Revolution (1910-1917). Getting my four kids into a car to get just about anywhere can be a feat, so I can’t imagine what it must have been like for her. My great-grandfather had already left Mexico to escape being jailed for not joining the federal army, an act that was seen as banditry by then President Porfirio Diaz. He and my great-grandmother made plans to meet up in Texas with other family members where they eventually settled, and raised their children to be honest, hard-working and active in their community. They worked hard together as a family, traveling as migrant workers from Texas to Michigan and Minnesota to pick cotton, fruit and vegetables. When they were home my great-grandfather ran his own successful lawn care business. They also went on to found the first Hispanic Methodist Church in Central Texas, the Latin American United Methodist Church in Waco, Texas which I still visit when I go home. Like many Latinos, my family has also been active in the military. My great-uncle Manuel (the 2 year-old little boy in the photo above) fought in WWII as a Mexican national and despite his service didn’t gain U.S. citizenship until many years later, my uncle Frank served in the Korean War, and my father Manuel served proudly as a Marine in Panama, Cuba and Vitetnam. I am grateful for the many sacrifices that my family made to ensure that future generations would have opportunities that they could only have dreamed of, and I will never forget my family’s humble beginnings.
Cristy's maternal grandparents Luis & Sarah Perez in Varadero, Mantanzas Cuba in June 1945.

Cristy’s maternal grandparents Luis & Sarah Perez in Varadero, Mantanzas Cuba in June 1945.

Cristy Clavijo-Kish (1st generation Cuban-American)

I come from a long line of survivors, entrepreneurs and general tough cookies! My maternal grandparents who hailed from large families in Cuba began poor and ended up owning guest houses in Varadero, Cuba’s famed beaches and coast. My paternal grandparents were both orphaned as children, and grew up to own a bakery and a bus route in Havana. Both sides of my family lost everything during Fidel Castro’s overthrow of the Cuban government in the late 1950s. They emigrated to New Jersey relying only on family members and Catholic church outreach services to start their new lives as older adults in a new country. My parents met and married in New Jersey in the late 60s and taught my brother and I to work very hard for the things we wanted. We celebrated my Quinces, the special “15th” birthday celebration for Latino girls, with a humble, but beautiful, party as my family wanted to continue this special tradition while living in the United States. I was raised to love the U.S. and value all of our Cuban and Caribbean traditions at the same time. I can’t imagine what it is like to leave your home with only the clothes on your back and your aspirations to somehow make a life for yourself and your family in another land. But my grandparents and parents did so with success, and heartbreak, along the way.

Piera's Parents

Piera’s parents, Jorge and Margarita..

Piera Jolly (1st generation Uruguayan-American)
My parents have always been entrepreneurs. In 1978 they were living in Buenos Aires, Argentina and were owners of a fashion line called Punky. Unfortunately, there was a lot of civil and economic unrest and even violence during this time due to the military gaining control of the government. Thousands of people were killed at the hands of the military regime. My parents themselves were robbed at gunpoint by corrupt police officers while living in Buenos Aires. Uruguay, where my parent’s were born, was in the same situation. Faced with dire circumstances and a newborn baby (yours truly), they decided to move to the United States. My parents are the true definition of the American Dream! In their time here, they have built several successful companies and raised a generation of entrepreneurs themselves.

Read more personal stories from Latina Mom Bloggers network members:

Adriana’s Best Recipes

Life According to Damaris

The Queen of Swag

Tough Cookie Mommy

Las Gringas Blog

Mommy Maestra

Growing Up Bilingual

Mommypalooza

Sammy Makes Six

The Orphaned Earring

Rockin’ Mama

Los Tweens

The Domestic Buzz

Latin Blah

Coupon Mamacita

Que Means What

La Familia Cool

A Thrifty Diva Surviving Mommyhood

Living La Vida Blogging

Mommyhood to Hollywood

Mama Noticias

Candypalooza

El Mundo de Mando

7 on a Shoestring

Mama XXI

Hott Mama in the City

Creciendo con Todas las Habilidades

Day Tripping Mom

Coupon Mamacita

Sassy Mama in LA

Living Mi Vida Loca