September 22, 2022
Hello, I am Maricela Vidal Gonzalez, my pronouns are she/her/ella, and I’m a mentor at FriendPDX. I was born in Oaxaca, Mexico. My family and I immigrated to the United States when I was seven years old. I grew up in Woodburn, Oregon also known as “Little Mexico” where more than 50% of the population is of Hispanic origin. I am also one of the 800,000 DACA recipients that were brought to this country as children and are now essential parts of their communities.
Coming from a low-income, immigrant family who values education and encourages us to not give up on our dreams, has taught me that the obstacles we face cannot determine how far in life we’ll get; only we can decide that. My mom always says, “Cuando se quiere, se puede” which means when you really want something, you can achieve it. She taught me that through hard work, dedication, and perseverance, you can accomplish anything you set your mind to.
I am proud to be Mexican because my culture is beautiful! Everything from our traditions, our food, our music, our language, to our people. It is an honor to be bi-literate in Spanish and English and to share my culture with my mentees as it encourages them to be proud of their own cultures. I grew up breaking piñatas at every birthday party and eating posole, tamales, and champurrado for the holidays. Most importantly my culture has taught me the importance of spending quality time with your loved ones and to work hard for your goals.
September 15 - October 15 is National Hispanic Heritage Month. FriendsPDX fully acknowledges that the terms Hispanic and Latinx are not naturally occurring and instead placed upon the communities that they were invented to describe. We have a whole blog dedicated to its historical background here.