From my window

by Mercedes Moresco

What does it mean to be Hispanic in the United States?

I'm argentine. I was born in Buenos Aires a few years ago, but I must admit that until I came to live here, in the United States, I was not very aware of my Hispanic identity.
I don't know if it was the European education I received, or my own Spanish and Italian ancestors, but the truth is that, from that South American country, I felt more akin to Europe than to Latin America. Even so, as soon as I set foot on this American soil, I appreciated the strength and deep sense of what being Hispanic meant. I joined organizations like Mujeres Latinas Promoting Latinas, I participated in reading circles like the ones offered, and offered, by Freda Mosquera, I met friends, families and so many loved ones that opened the window to a new reality for me. And despite all the differences, which start from saying pineapple to pineapple and extend much further, I found something that unites us and of which many of us are proud: the Spanish language. 
When one emigrates, when one moves away from their culture, their traditions, their streets and dear friends, they deeply feel that lack, that emptiness that is filled with other streets, other friends, another culture. But the gap is not completely filled, the immigrant always feels some nostalgia for what he lost, for what he no longer has close by. And that awareness of distance, that absence can often  find a space in the Spanish language. 
That is why I insist so much on the importance of taking care of it, of keeping it in ourselves and in our children, in our grandchildren, because that is where we immigrants find a soil, a homeland. 
Personally, it fills me with pride that my children are bilingual, and so are other children and young people who study to learn or improve their Spanish language. 
And it is true, Hispanics are a minority in the immensity of this country, but a minority so important that it occupies more and more spaces in politics and education. That is worth celebrating. I would like to think that the two languages go hand in hand with these influential Hispanics: English, because it is the official one, and Spanish, because it is ours. And there are no Argentines, Venezuelans, Cubans or Dominicans in that. There are Hispanics. Hispanics who live in the United States and there are more and more of us.