Each year, from September 15 to October 15, we celebrate Hispanic and Latino culture, contributions, traditions, and history. With 62 million strong, the U.S. Hispanic population accounts for 19 percent of all Americans, making it the second-largest ethnic group and a major contributor to the U.S. economy. The Hispanic community has made a significant impact on the world.
At America’s Car-Mart, we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month by highlighting the perspectives of our Hispanic associates. Meet two associates who shared their thoughts.
Josue Saucedo – Josue is our Co-Manager at Car-Mart of Taylor, Texas. His mom hails from Mexico, and his dad is from Guatemala. When Josue joined Car-Mart in 2022, he was looking for growth and opportunity, and he also discovered a purpose in his work – helping people. Josue enjoys spending time with his wife, Karla, and their dog, Ella. [Learn about Josue’s Car-Mart story].
Osman Latino – Born in Nicaragua, Osman, our Purchasing Agent at Car-Mart of El Dorado, Ark., moved to the United States in 2009. After selling a vehicle to Car-Mart in 2015, Osman was intrigued and hired to buy cars. He enjoys finding vehicles that people will want to buy. And he appreciates his job for providing him with ‘experience for life.’ Osman and his wife, Kristen, have four children, ages five to 13.
What does your Hispanic heritage mean to you?
Josue – It’s a culture of acceptance and knowing you’re part of something bigger. It’s also a family-based heritage. The family is at the center of what being Hispanic is all about. Your family is there for you. We’re one big giant community no matter where you are.
Osman – It’s like a celebration of who I am. I treasure the culture and values inherited from my parents. And I take great pride in passing them on to my children, so they don’t forget their heritage. I’m also teaching my native language, Spanish, to them. I want my children to be able to communicate with my parents, aunts, and uncles, who don’t speak English.
What special point of view has your Hispanic heritage given you?
Josue – It’s given me a more empathic perspective. I am able to understand people’s struggles, worries, and fears. I understand what it means to truly overcome something.
Osman – It’s given me the aspect to work hard. The culture puts much value on hard work, even when times get tough. We have a lot of perseverance. Also, my culture has no boundaries, and we respect other cultures. We like to learn about other cultures.
Why is it important to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month?
Josue – It gives us the opportunity to learn more about our history and the language, which can open up so many doors so you can better yourself in your career and life. Knowledge is powerful. It gives you a sense of pride to learn more about different people.
Osman – Hispanic Heritage Month is a crucial time to acknowledge and honor the valuable contributions, rich cultures, and deep histories of the Hispanic community. Latinos continue to make significant strides in communities across the nation. By celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month, we can recognize and appreciate their outstanding achievements and lasting impact on our national narrative.
What are your favorite Hispanic foods and music?
Josue – For food, it’s tacos and portas. I love tamales, especially my mom’s. They’re phenomenal. For music, it’s corridos, a type of music. You get into a circle and walk in a line. It’s fun and good for family bonding.
Osman – Carne asada for food. My favorite music is reggaeton music, which was started in Puerto Rico. I also like salsa and merengue music.
And your favorite Hispanic traditions?
Josue – Weddings. The ceremonies resemble love in different ways. In Guatemala, there’s the Campana or bell. It’s a tradition where the host of the reception fills a huge wooden bell with grain and rice – to show prosperity. The couple is then showered with this, along with flowers. In Mexico, although it originated in Chile, you wear your wedding ring on your right hand, and on your wedding day, you move the rings from right to left to show unity.
Plus, the holidays are my favorite. In Mexico, we celebrate Christmas differently. We don’t decorate trees or the house too much. It’s more of a party with pinatas and mariachi bands in the streets. We emphasize the family aspect and celebrate the opportunity to be with each other.
Osman – I love the smacking of the pinata for birthdays. It’s a typical birthday tradition. Another tradition is the traditional dances. Dancing in the streets is a way for Hispanics to celebrate being Hispanic. Of course, there’s the quinceanera when girls turn 15. This marks an important milestone in a girl’s life and there’s a party for her.
How will you celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month?
Josue – I will celebrate my favorite way possible. I’ll eat a lot of Hispanic food. I’ll research Hispanic businesses in my town and show my support. I’ll educate myself about how Hispanics have helped America. And I’ll listen to podcasts about what the month is all about. Everyone can agree on good food, so that’s a good place to start, and go from there!
Osman – I will celebrate with food! I will cook some of my favorite Nicaraguan meals including Pollo al Vino, Valencia rice, and bean soup. In fact, these are my special dishes. Additionally, I encourage people to learn about Hispanic and Latino culture, especially our rich history. And support Latino businesses!
What’s one thing you want people to know about Hispanic people?
Josue – It’s a way of life, and all inclusive. You don’t have to be Mexican to be part of our culture. We have an open, willing attitude. And we have awesome food!
Osman – We are hard workers. Being from another country, I think we work harder. We’re also learners. Learning is a never-ending process. I also want people to know that we love to be part of other cultures.
Thanks to Josue and Osman for sharing their voices about Hispanic Heritage Month. We appreciate their words of wisdom and are thrilled they’re part of our Car-Mart family.
Osman’s Recipe: Pollo al vino
· 1 whole chicken (cut into segments, remove skin, wash, drain, and rinse several times. My habit is to clean the chicken 2 times, then give it a last wash with vinegar, salt, and water. Then drain and pat dry)
· ground black pepper to taste (I use about 1 tsp.)
· paprika (1 1/2 teaspoons)
· salt to taste (I use 2 teaspoons to rub all over the chicken)
· 1 green bell pepper chopped
· 1 onion chopped
· 6-8 cloves garlic minced
· 1 cup dry white wine or dry sherry
· 3 large potatoes, peeled, cut into 3 sections or cut in two
· 3 carrots peeled and cut horizontally or in rounds. Your choice
1 – Place cleaned chicken in a bowl and run in/toss well and coat well with salt, pepper, and paprika.
2 – Brown it in batches in olive oil, over high or medium-high heat. Then set it aside in a deep pot.
3 – In the same pan you browned the chicken, sautee onions, garlic, and bell pepper over medium-high stirring occasionally, making sure to scrape any browned bits. De-glaze with 1 cup of wine, and bring to a rolling boil.
4 – Toss the sauteed onion, garlic, bell pepper, and wine mixture into the pot with the chicken. Throw in potatoes, carrots, and olives. Add 1/2 cup water to this just in case it needs more liquid to cook. Bring to a rolling boil covered, for about 1 or 2 minutes. Then lower heat to low and simmer covered for about 45 minutes.