LACOE NEWSROOM

11

Celebrating cultural diversity

Immigrant Heritage Month provides people across the United States an opportunity to explore their own heritage and to #CelebrateImmigrants and the diversity that forms the unique American experience. At LACOE, this month is a great opportunity to celebrate and share our staff’s immigrant stories.


Marcia Austin

What is your country of origin?

My mother's parents came from Lithuania. I can relate to this (culture) because the language, customs and culture (of Lithuania) were a part of my upbringing and I assimilated this culture from my relatives.

 

What values do you cherish the most as an immigrant?

As a second generation Lithuanian, I can share the story of my grandparents from Russia and how they came to Ellis Island in New York. (Coming from an immigrant family) had an impact on me as a child. My grandmother only spoke Russian and my aunt had to translate Russian to English. This gave me an immense interest in languages in my early years and I loved both Lithuanian and English vocabulary.

 

What cultural traditions are you proud of sharing with your community?

I found St Catherine Lithuanian Church in Los Angeles, California where I have met people of Lithuanian heritage. Sometimes I meet them at random in the community. There is a rich culture to share and the people are friendly. Some time ago, Lithuanian teachers visited Central Juvenile Hall. I was happy to meet them, and they were pleasantly surprised to meet someone familiar with the country of Lithuania and its culture.


Marion Candia

What is your country of origin?

I was born in Australia

 

What values do you cherish the most as an immigrant?

The values I cherish the most as an immigrant include my family and our freedom in the USA.

 

What cultural traditions are you proud of sharing with your community?

For Thanksgiving and Christmas family gatherings, my family always prepared a goose with dumplings and red cabbage.


Maria Martinez

 

What is your country of origin?

Mexico

 

What values do you cherish the most as an immigrant?

Safety, education, work ethic, security, equal opportunity, family.


What cultural traditions are you proud of sharing with your community?

Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) and Posadas (Mexican Christmas festival) are two of many cultural traditions that I am most proud of. These are days when we celebrate with family and friends. On the Day of the Dead we celebrate and remember our ancestors. This day is filled with autumn colors and a variety of food offerings to deceased family members. The Posadas is celebrated around Christmas time in neighborholds across Mexico. Community members gather and hold a procession, visiting homes to seek shelter for Joseph and Mary. Ultimately, they end up at a particular house where they are invited to celebrate and enjoy food and treats.


Abimbola Ogbechie

 

What is your country of origin?

Nigeria

 

What values do you cherish the most as an immigrant?

Immigrants are in America to work, make a decent living and improve the lives of their family members, plus the entire community.


What cultural traditions are you proud of sharing with your community?

The Nigerian way of dressing, the delicious food, the value that we put in education and how attached we are to educating the young. I adhere to Nigerian strict disciplinary way of raising children, including every student of mine while impacting the values that were passed on to me by my parents/the community. I strongly believe and practice the adage: “It takes a village to raise a child.”


Silvina Rubinstein

 

What is your country of origin?

I was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina and arrived in the United States on December 25, 1976 with two daughters, a 3-year-old and a 22-day-old baby. Nací en Buenos Aires, Argentina y llegué a los Estados Unidos el 25 de diciembre de 1976 con una hijita de 3 años y una bebita de 22 días.

 

What values do you cherish the most as an immigrant?

I value the opportunity to navigate between many cultures and two languages, and recognize the resiliency that I built as an immigrant. I am always open to listen to other immigrant stories because our stories are all unique and inspirational and when we share them, we are no longer (invisible) ghosts. Valoro la oportunidad que el proceso de inmigración me ha brindado al tener que moverme entre muchas culturas y dos idiomas, y también reconozco el alto grado de resilencia que logré desarrollar como inmigrante. Las historias de otros/as inmigrantes me inspiran porque cada una de nuestras historias y vivencias son únicas y cuando las compartimos dejamos de ser fantasmas.

 

What cultural traditions are you proud of sharing with your community

I love our language, our literature, our music – and of course our food. However, I also feel responsible for sharing our history, and the very sad period of time that Argentina was experiencing at the time when I left; a period known as the "dirty war" when between 10,000 and 30,000 people disappeared. Adoro mi lengua, nuestra literatura, nuestra música, y por supuesto nuestra comida. Sin embargo, también como inmigrante me siento responsable de compartir nuestra historia, y particularmente un período muy triste de la historia Argentina conocido como "la guerra sucia", en el que hubo entre 10,000 y 30,000 desaparecidos/as.

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