By Kat Sincuir Alvarez, Class of 2023
Latin America: 20 countries, 652 million people, more than 550 languages, and 1 family.
Latinos are people of power, work, and dreams. From a very young age I was taught the value of work and excellence; my parents knew that one day I could achieve my dreams if I was brave and worked toward my future. Even so, I never had the slightest doubt that I was “someone.” I didn’t need a billion medals to tell me I was worth it, or that I had any value. The person that I was, the person within me, my identity, gave me more power than I could imagine. This was the same power that ran through generations. The same power that ran through the veins of the Mayans, who believed in the power of the jaguar, and the beauty within the heavens. And with such immense power invested within me, I am grateful the University of Oregon has allowed me to spread my wings and share that power amidst the connections and opportunities I have been given thus far.
After taking my first steps on campus, I looked back at my beautiful home, the place of my childhood, the place of my memories. And yet, my home was not a building, or that specific house with three rooms; it was, and is, my family. I knew that without them—without their support—I could not have come this far. The support of the people who love me, the community of people who share my Latino blood, and those who didn’t alike, made me realize the power of community. And in that moment I could not have been more proud of my race. My beautiful people, my sweet people.
In this new adventure, I could find support in organizations like CMAE, Mills International Center, and the Holden Center, to name a few. My professors, my advisors, my friends and my parents, all of them, created a community, a family like no other. Even during recent times of anguish and fear, at times when my people are humiliated, and my brothers and sisters are beaten, I think of the power of my community. I remember what it means to share a simple black coffee; how my compatriot, Ricardo Arjona’s words and melodies make me feel; and always there, what a hug from my family feels like.
During these times of distress, I could not have felt more supported by my people and my family. Because they are my shield when I feel discouraged and they are my sword when I am afraid. Latinos are fighters and resilient; we have strong blood and we are proud of our roots. And so during Latinx Heritage Month, in this so beautiful celebration of our race, I am thankful for the power of the Latinx blood and for the value of each person that dreams and works hard to be recognized, even as many of our stories, legends, and sciences were stripped away from us. And yet, “we are light.” There is power and beauty in our art and culture, there is unprecedented power in our unity. Thanks Latin America, gracias por mi familia.