Mexicans know at an early age that Cinco de Mayo is one of the great heroic feats of the Mexican people, a symbolic date commemorating the historical victory of General Ignacio Zaragoza and his patriotic army against the invading French army in the central state of Puebla in 1862.
But in the last 158 years, the celebration of La Batalla de Puebla has become not only a deeply binational celebration between Mexico and the United States, but essentially a celebration of Hispanidad, a recognition of the roots common that connect us and the unique contributions of Hispanics to the culture, economy, and diversity of the United States.
Like presidents Benito Juárez and Abraham Lincoln at that time confronted existential challenges for the integrity and future of their nations, our people and the humanity is currently facing a major challenge with the COVID-19 pandemic, which again, exposes the best of us: our infinite will to fight against adversity, in any of its forms.
Here we have recognized the great anonymous heroes of this new battle, whom we find and honor wherever we turn: in hospitals, ambulances, farm fields, supermarkets. All those who risk their own life 24 hours a day to save those of others.
But this Cinco de Mayo is more meaningful than ever – focusing on a group of unique Hispanics and Hispanics who are in the front row of the battlefield and that, despite living in total uncertainty about their life and future, show us a spirit and dedication that deserve to be recognized and protected.
Of course, I am referring to our DACA beneficiaries and our TPS beneficiary siblings. A total of 202,500 “DREAMers” and 131,300 “tepesians” belong to the army of essential workers who take risks daily against a common enemy.
Of that total, about 29,000 DREAMers and 11,000 tepesians work in the health sector, as doctors, nurses, and custodial services. And thousands more are working tirelessly from their own trenches as teachers, teachers, or vital service workers.
As explained by dreamer Karen Reyes, a dedicated schoolteacher and daughter of an undocumented mother who has also been affected in the workplace by the pandemic, “This is not only my story; it is the story of my mother and of people like her.”
What better celebration of Cinco de Mayo and Mother’s Day, than to provide all exceptional DACA and TPS patriots working in essential activities the security and certainty they deserve, extending their stay and work permits.
Or better yet, passing in the Senate the bill that opens the door to a permanent solution. They have been and continue to live up to the circumstances, now it is up to political leaders to do the same.
For more information visit www.laredhispana.com.