Tuesday, July 14, 2015

In the Heights - meet cast member Janice Rivera

Being a part of In the Heights illuminates the differences that Hispanic people encounter depending not only on where they reside when they come to the US but also how their families decide to acclimate. During the 1950’s when my father came from Puerto Rico to go to medical school in upstate New York, he was eager to shed any image of himself as “ethnic” or Hispanic. He wanted to integrate into mainstream American life. My only exposure to his culture was when we visited family once or twice a year in Puerto Rico throughout my childhood. Most of my relatives there were eager to speak English (my grandparents were both English teachers in their hometown) and so my siblings and I didn’t become fluent in Spanish. At the time, this distancing was a more comfortable approach for my father. I think as time has passed, he’s realized that we all would have been better off embracing his roots more. Indeed as he gets older his desire to return to PR seems to grow! I often lament not having more enrichment of the culture as people in the Heights do.   -Janice Rivera, (Camila Rosario)

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