Growing Up Latinx in the Midwest

Anastacia Santos-Soriano, a second-year JCCC student, shares her experience as a Hispanic person living in the United States. Photo by Eliana Klathis, features editor.

If you have noticed from being around campus, it is Hispanic Heritage Month. Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated all over the country from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 to showcase Hispanic culture and history. Anastacia Santos-Soriano, a 19-year-old student at JCCC, shared her family history and her experiences as a first-generation Hispanic person in the Midwest. 

“My family is from Veracruz, Mexico, right by the ocean,” Soriano said.

Veracruz is located five- and-a-half hours away from Mexico City, right on the coast of Mexico. It is known for its beautiful beaches and rich cultural history. In fact, its festival, Carnival, is rivaled only by Carnival in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil according to, and starts nine days before Ash Wednesday.

A person’s heritage and culture can affect the way they see the world. For Soriano, her heritage and culture has affected the food she likes. 

“Well it’s just my reality,” Soriano said, “because I get to eat good food, I don’t eat American food like coleslaw. It has made me a picky eater.” 

“I’ve never eaten [at]Taco Bell or a Mexican restaurant before.” Soriano said. She stated that her favorite Mexican food is gorditas, a homemade tortilla made with masa where the sides are flipped up, and filled with black beans. Her favorite dessert is Tres Leche cake, a sponge cake with sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, and whole milk added after the cake has been baked, making it soft and moist. Sounds delicious!!!

Even though being a part of another culture can be exciting, there can also be some struggles. When talking about the hardships she felt growing up as a Hispanic person in a majority non-Hispanic area, Soriano says 

“Growing up in the early 2000s you didn’t have much or good representation for darker skinned Mexican women,” Soriano said. “It made me insecure about what I looked like. And when I was younger I wanted to be white and my name to be Stacy because it was more white.” 

Unfortunately today, there are many difficulties for people living in Mexico to immigrate to the U.S. Soriano shares her experience and thoughts on this pressing issue, 

“I hate it,” Soriano said. “The whole issue with the kids being taken away from their parents at the border makes me angry and sad, but their parents will get kicked to the curb, and I don’t know why.” 

Speaking about her own personal experiences with this issue, Soriano said

“I was scared for my family,” Soriano said. “I’d love to go to Mexico to get to know my family, but the way things are right now I don’t think it’s the right time.”

Coming over to a new country and being the outsider in a predominantly non-Hispanic area is a daunting feat, but Soriano stated she is proud of her heritage. 

“I am proud of my parents’ roots that were passed down to me and the hardworking culture,” Soriano said. 

Eliana Klathis, features editor



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