When I heard Emilio Estefan yell "This is what an American looks like" in the play
" On your feet" Musical by Alexander Dinelaris. The story of Emilio and Gloria Estefan I literally burst into tears!
My comadre Marcy Rubio (who took me to see the play for my birthday) even had to ask me if I was okay because I just couldn't stop crying.
You see my husband and I had recently been getting negative attention from strangers in public for speaking Spanish to our son. We chose to only speak Spanish to him from the day he was born. We knew he would eventually pick up English very easily once he started school because that is how my husband and I learned to speak both languages. In our households growing up Spanish was the primary language and once we began school English quickly took over and we knew the same would happen for our son. He is now 8 years old and to this day we still only speak Spanish to him. He proudly speaks both languages.
One time I was in the aisle of store speaking to my son in Spanish as usual and I heard a woman say "learn English" for a second I didn't react because I truly didn't even think it was meant for me. Then all I could say was "I'm sorry are you speaking to me?" She turned around and said "Oh" and quickly walked away. I just stood there shocked. I wish I could say I told her something more, but I truly was just shocked into silence.
After that my husband and I found ourselves making sure we said something in English after we spoke Spanish to make sure people knew we were American. So When I heard "This is what an American looks like" I lost it because I realized we had been trying to "prove" we were American by speaking English.
Well needless to say after that I made damn sure to speak Spanish loudly and proudly and not say anything in English unless it was warranted. We have nothing to prove to anyone. We are American. We speak Spanish because we come from proud Cuban parents who gave up everything for us and we will continue to share our heritage with our son and with anyone else who wants to know more about our Cuban American life.