National Hispanic Heritage Month Spotlight: Cynthia Flores
Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15, celebrating the histories, traditions, cultures, languages, and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America.
Over the next four weeks, the Chamber will be featuring four community leaders. We asked each of them to share their perspectives and how being Hispanic has influenced their lives, personally, and professionally.
As I child, I grew up on the North Side of Fort Worth, just blocks away from the Stockyards area. I was one of eight children. My dad, Hispanic, worked as a pressman, later to start his own printing company, known today as JohnSons Press. My mother, German, was a nurse by trade but was a stay-at-home mom when we were growing up. The community was majority Hispanic and our Catholic Church and School communities were also Hispanic. I often tell the story that I did not know I was “Hispanic” until I was a sophomore in high school because we never grew up in a community that used “labels” for race.
My husband, Rene and I grew up in the same neighborhood. My father and his parents grew up together as well as their parents, who migrated from Mexico at the same time. Because of the strong family bond, it was natural that Rene and I grew up with the same traditions, attending the same Catholic Church and School. We attended the same church jamaica’s (carnivals), quinceaneras, large Mexican weddings, eating lots of pan dulce (Mexican bread), and Mexican food. It was an automatic that we raised our children with the same traditions. When our daughter was 4 years old we enrolled her in the Round Rock Ballet Folklorico and my son followed when he was 6. They both danced 5 plus years. Mrs. Yolanda Sanchez spent a lot of time explaining each dance, the regions of origin and outfits. She taught my children so much and today; we are extremely grateful of her guidance on educating this tradition. Keeping the Hispanic traditions are important to us. Our Catholic faith continues to be our guide. We enjoy participating in Dia de los Muertos, celebrating Cinco de Mayo, Dieciseis de Septiembre, and mostly enjoy listening to our children blare out Mexican music. Their gritos are the best!
My parents encountered discrimination because of their “mixed-marriage”. My father was discriminated as a Hispanic businessman going business to business as a salesman. My dad said this was just the “fire” he needed to keep going. Because of their experiences, I believe both of my parents worked hard to encourage all their children to be the best we could be without regards to race.
The celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month is important as it allows neighbors to learn about their unique cultural make up and traditions. Embracing the differences allows us to be a stronger community.
Even though we were a large family, my parents always found time to volunteer in our church and school. It was this example that made volunteering central in my adult life. My father has been a long-time member of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. So, when I became involved in the community I knew the church, school and chamber was where I needed to start.
I’ve been actively involved in the RR Chamber since 2008 including time spend on the board.
I expanded my volunteerism to include the county by serving on the Sacred Heart Community Clinic, Williamson County & Cities Health District, Williamson Burnet County Opportunities, Professional Woman of Williamson County and now serving the region as an AARO member and the State by serving as the Presiding Officer of the Brazos River Authority.
My current employment as Executive Director of Annunciation Maternity Home allows me to serve young ladies from across Texas who are experiencing a crisis pregnancy.
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