Hispanic Heritage Month

Oct_601_hispanic_month_s

Back in 1988, President Ronald Reagan – a Republican – expanded Hispanic Heritage Month to become a four-week long opportunity to celebrate and recognize the many positive contributions of the Hispanic community.

Between 1539 – 1542, Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto explored what is today Tennessee and celebrated America’s first Christmas during this time of exploration and discovery!

Since then, hundreds of thousands of Latinos are making Tennessee their home.

From Knoxville, to Chattanooga, to Memphis, Nashville and everywhere in between Latinos are helping Tennessee become an even better place to live, raise a family, and start a business.

And to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, here are two leaders in our local community who are proud to call Tennessee their home:

Ben Jabbour

 1. What is your day job and how do you choose to give back to your local community?

My current role is Bilingual Marketing Specialist for the Mid-South’s premier Hispanic marketing firm and weekly periodical, La Prensa Latina Media. 

Currently, I volunteer as a Spanish-language medical interpreter for Compassion Clinic. I am also the Thunderbird District Chairman of the Chickasaw Council, Boy Scouts of America. In addition, I sit on the board of the Shelby Co. Young Republicans. Furthermore, I will be participating in the American Cancer Society’s Real Men Wear Pink campaign this year.     

2. What does Hispanic Heritage Month mean to you?

To me, Hispanic Heritage Month is a salute to the history, culture, music and food of Hispanics everywhere regardless of national origin.

3. Why are you proud of your Hispanic roots?

I am proud of my Hispanic roots because they have instilled in me the values of hard-work, persistence, discipline and family which have allowed Hispanics to thrive throughout the world no matter their circumstances.

4. As you know, the Latino community is being especially hard hit because of COVID-19. What words of encouragement would you tell folks who are struggling right now? How can we overcome this difficult situation?

This too shall pass. Our people have faced many hardships in our history, yet here we remain stronger than ever. Look after your family and loved ones and we’ll get through this together. And once that day comes, we will have a historic fiesta to celebrate!

5. What is your favorite Latino dish to eat or prepare? 

Tamales al estilo Guatemalteca

Lupita Howell

1. What is your day job and how do you choose to give back to your local community?

Due to the recent pandemic, I am now serving as HOLA’s Church Outreach Director to educate and inform the Hispanic community on important COVID-19-related state policy updates by connecting with Spanish-speaking pastors. I am also working alongside the State Department of Health to ensure the Hispanic community has access to free COVID-19 testing through their local churches. I choose to give back to my community by advocating for Hispanic rights and educating the Hispanic community on school-choice initiatives as well.

2. What does Hispanic Heritage Month mean to you?

I was born and raised in Mexico and it has always meant a lot to me to share my Hispanic heritage with my daughters and with friends in the United States. Hispanic Heritage Month is a great opportunity for people to learn and appreciate the vast and diverse heritage of Latin America and Spain.

3. Why are you proud of your Hispanic roots?

I am proud of my Hispanic roots because we are influential leaders, innovators, intelligent businessmen and women, and so much more. I am very proud of how Hispanic people have embraced their roots here in America and are proud to be Hispanic. 

4. As you know, the Latino community is being especially hard hit because of COVID-19. What words of encouragement would you tell folks who are struggling right now? How can we overcome this difficult situation?

I would invite my community to get tested, research where free testing is happening in their areas, pray for safe and healthy working conditions and not give up hope.

5. What is your favorite Latino dish to eat or prepare? 

I love pan dulce de tri color. They are a type of shortbread cookie that is shaped as a triangle with a Neapolitan design. My daughter learned how to make them recently and I love them because they remind me of the many Mexican bakeries in my hometown in Mexico.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *