Cinco DEI Mayo

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So, here comes Cinco de Mayo, the only day of the year that Mexican culture is celebrated in the U.S. Even though it is not an official holiday in Mexico, the US has made it one here. And suddenly, the fifth day of May (because lots of people don’t even know what Cinco de Mayo means) everyone is drinking margaritas, wearing sombreros, mustaches, and playing maracas. It’s a day of happiness, chips and salsa, mucho tequila and colorful celebrations.

People dress up like Mexicans and post pics on their social media showing their one-day excitement of living our culture. That’s fine. We won’t call them out for cultural appropriation. Not at all. We only wish people would embrace our culture more often and not only on the fifth day of May (just in case you still don’t know what Cinco de Mayo means).

And with so much going on in today’s society, Cinco de Mayo is a perfect day to explain a few concepts using the holiday itself. Let’s first say diversity. Well, diversity is different people celebrating Cinco de Mayo as well as people celebrating a culture that isn’t their own. Imagine us Hispanics, celebrating Kwanzaa, or Irish people partying Mexican style. That’s admitting differences and celebrating them. And ideally, that celebration would eventually turn into a yearly and a lifetime respect and acceptance between us.

Another concept that happens during the celebration of any foreign cultural holiday is the notion of inclusion. Suddenly you feel like you belong to that culture. I become Irish on St. Patrick’s, American on 4th of July, just as you become Mexican on Cinco de Mayo. We are including you into our celebration and we celebrate the fact that you are acknowledging our presence and contribution to society.

Equality means that we all have our one-day of celebration. The idea is to have an impartial calendar and provide celebrations (in this case) for every culture within our society.

And after so much tequila, Margaritas and Mexican cervezas most likely there will be a hang over. Yes, that unpleasant feeling that comes next morning as a consequence of drinking in excess. But, I’m talking now about a positive hang over. Yes, the pleasant feeling that comes after one has open to difference, respect and celebrating someone’s contribution to our society.

So, try to keep that diversity, equality and inclusion that you show on Cinco de Mayo (may 5th) and keep it going on for longer. Not the drinking and the partying, but the happiness and acceptance of our culture. After Cinco de Mayo, people move from celebrating our culture, to just eating our food. And the idea is to touch your heart as much as we have touched your stomach. Put aside the differences and embrace diversity. We are not different, we just happen to come from somewhere else and we’re extremely thankful of the opportunities given to us here. We want to contribute towards the common good and not be looked or label as anything less or as any danger.

On this upcoming Cinco de Mayo, go ahead and dress like our ancestors, be as stereotypical as you can. That’s fine, put on a sombrero and wear the mustaches you wish you could grow. Party, eat good food, practice your little bit of Spanish, like “where’s the baño” and “another cerveza”, and then, on Seis de mayo, (the day after cinco) try to have that positive hangover. Be happy we chose you to be our neighbors, be proud we chose your great country, and most importantly, be open to accepting the differences among us. Tequila, Margarita, and Cerveza for sure know how to erase those differences.

Let’s be amigos. Let’s become a familia. Let’s together create a comunidad in which we are all respected and accepted no matter our color, accent or look. Our beauty lies in our differences. If we can make the Cinco de Mayo (hopefully by now you know what that means) spirit linger positively among us, we will be a better community.

So, go ahead and party like there’s no border and may the spirit of the fifth of May linger longer than just one day.