We live in an “every man for himself” kind of world. When you are out and about in this world talking about the power of “we,” oftentimes you get dismissed as being naive or idealistic. But, for me, there really is no other way. I think about my family, my childhood, the values that I brought with me into adulthood and I realize that this idea of community success is part of who I am as a Latina.
My father would always tell my brother and I, “You two have to love each other, because you’re all you’ve got.” When holidays would roll around, choices would be made to accommodate everyone, not just those who were calling the shots. When someone is going through a hard time, everyone pulls their resources to try to find a solution. No one is an island, especially in a Latino family.
It hadn’t occurred to me that I held such a different view of the world until I was asked about it.
But once I thought about it, I realized that thinking about how “we” can change the world as opposed to “me” has guided my life in important and fundamental ways. Why did I choose journalism? Why do I invest time building networks and communities on, and off, the Internet? Why work with younger people who ask for guidance and help? All of these professional choices fall in line with my core belief that I’m part of something larger than just my own needs and desires.
I can’t really speak for anyone else or whether they experience Latino culture as one of a more “we” mentality. Personally, I feel like my life is richer because this is the way I experience the world, I can’t imagine simply living for myself with no regard for how my actions or choices affect others, or create opportunities of inclusion for others.
If I were to be honest with myself, I’ve benefitted from people who held the same beliefs, creating opportunities and space for me. So, in a sense, I’m contributing to the circle, and hopefully, this way I’ll be able to keep it going.
Copyright 2016 by Sara Inés Calderón. A previously version of this column was originally posted on June 16, 2013.