Reflections on my Heritage
As a younger generation Mexican American, I have struggled in different ways than most. In the movie Selena, which tells the life story of Mexican American music artist Selena Quintanilla, her father says it best. He said “Being Mexican American is tough. And we gotta prove to the Mexicans how Mexican we are, and we gotta prove to the Americans how American we are. We gotta be more Mexican than the Mexicans, and more American than the Americans; both at the same time. It’s exhausting! Man nobody knows how tough it is to be Mexican American.”
Growing up it was not advantageous to be diverse. I grew up not fully immersed in my Mexican culture. People looked down on you if you spoke Spanish, had an accent, dressed a certain way, or were Mexican. As we head into a more diverse world, this has been a struggle for me. Though there has been progress, there is still not enough representation of Latinx in politics and in various industries across the board.
As a young Mexican American, I want to be an example to young hispanic women. I also know that I am not an expert or the most accurate representation of my culture. I continue to learn about, experience, and lean into my heritage to grow. If you want to learn more, or are curious, I created this resource document.
Delta Phi Epsilon’s mission of diversity and inclusion encourages me to further my purpose in this area. Being a first generation college student and Mexican, my family and I had absolutely no clue what a sorority was when I first joined DPhiE.
How can we take all of our cultural core values and translate them into DPHIE? How can we all educate PNMs on what a sorority actually is,instead of just assuming it is common knowledge? Acknowledging, talking, and creating small change is an incredible way to start educating our members on all of our different cultural experiences.
Jessie Leal is an alumna member of the Gamma Gamma chapter at Schreiner University and a current International Leadership Consultant. Jessie lives in Texas and has plans to attend Law School next year.