I asked in this blog last week, in my Tuna Salad Challenge: When did YOU discover that you in fact have a culture, and not just “facts about how the world works”?
I absolutely loved the response from Parthena Draggett, known to so many educators and community members as a dynamo who is the president of the AATSP, moderates educational chats, writes insightful language teaching books and materials, provides exciting workshops, and so many more delightful and inspiring activities. You can also listen to her podcast (Episode 6) and learn more about her through the biography on my website.
And, since today begins the trio of Language Advocacy Days for JNCL-NCLIS — those in business, industry, national security, and education all are focused on helping our national legislature, both Senate and House of Representatives, understand the critical need for languages — this is a good day to see the positive, lifechanging power of language and culture. It is a good day to see that learning languages, understanding cultures, rejoicing in language, makes us more of who we really are.
The diversity of humanity does not threaten us, but invites us to be more ourselves. Let’s celebrate that and open more doors for others to experience it! True diversity, true inclusion, and true open doors to equity lie on this language pathway.
Here’s Parthena’s wonderful answer to my challenge. I’m looking forward to receiving and sharing YOURS!
“Even as a small child, I always knew that I had a culture because my first generation born parents and immigrant Greek and Lebanese grandparents, although proud U.S. Americans, always kept our heritage and traditions strong. My father was fiercely proud of the great contributions of the Greeks to the world, such as democracy. We attended the Greek Orthodox Church, which was not only our religious center, but a place where we maintained our heritage: the Greek language, festivals, family Easter dances, etc., all with our Greek traditions.
Then, to bring out my mother’s Lebanese heritage, I could listen to my mom, grandfather and uncles speak Arabic and attend the yearly picnic of the people from their area of Lebanon. My mom made both Greek and Lebanese foods we all loved the dances of both heritages.
Languages were never “foreign” to me because, although my first language is English, I attended Greek school and was surrounded by both Greek and Arabic in our home, which opened my heart and mind to other cultures, as well.
In fact, I know that my love of Spanish was born in the old neighborhood of Canton, Ohio, where the Spanish Center was near my house and I could hear flamenco music regularly. We moved to the suburbs when I was in the third grade, but time spent with my amigas, hearing them speak Spanish with their abuelitas, playing with castañuelas, and enjoying Spanish food and music stayed with me.
The diversity of language and culture were always front and center for me. I love the gifts of my multicultural heritage.”Become a Sponsor