A swirl of white trimmed with blue and white danced through the crowd.
The girl in the dress was quickly lost, despite her unique outfit, in the ever-moving crowd. Nothing stood still.
Even the flags representing different countries that hung from the Mezzanine danced to the music in the wind. People danced and laughed as they moved through the crowds, grabbing a drink from the table and heading inside to walk through the museum.
The museum was lit with the same colors as the flags hanging outside – blue, red, green, and yellow- flashed against the back.
The walls were lined with significant Latinos/as and Hispanics; people who inspired and challenged their people.
The melodic flow of the Spanish language filled the air. The music was loud, demanding your attention. It did not matter if you were latin, hispanic, or any other ethnicity, the music beckoned and you had no choice but to dance. Everyone in the crowd seemed to know the words as they yelled along, laughing between every other word. Even when you walked into the museum, though everyone was impressed and taking the whole thing very serious, they were still moving; still dancing.
The story room was filled with a different kind of sound that caused a different kind of movement.
Professors and students shared their stories and experiences as Latina/hispanic individuals: their parents had come from other countries because of family problems or because of the political climates and revolutions of their homeland. They told of what it meant to come to a new country and what it meant to overcome. These sounds did not only move your body but your heart as well.
The best part of any family gathering is the food. We lined up and waited patiently, praying all the good stuff would still be there when we got to the table. No one was a stranger as we moved together one step at a time and laughed, trying to get a pin.
The long-awaited moment arrived and rice, peas, pork, and arroz con gandules, was piled onto your plate along with platano maduro. Each savory bite brought the comfort of home, even for people who had never eaten the food growing up.
Perhaps, it was the dish itself that felt like home, the fact it was homemade, or a little bit of both.
Motion blurred the scene together as people danced to the live band and milled around the museum. People embraced and celebrated their heritage. Others celebrated Latin and Hispanic cultures, learning about a heritage that has survived hard times and had to overcome many obstacles, but always finds a reason to celebrate. Cultures that made everyone feel like family, even a large crowd of strangers from a range of different backgrounds came together and felt comfortable enough to dance (including the ones with two left feet), laugh, and sing together. The celebration of Latin and Hispanic cultures showcased the powerful struggles Latino/a and Hispanic people have endured and how they have overcome such times. They celebrate their strength and beauty and are always down to dance.