MIAMI -- To grow up in a Latino household is to know that Abuela (grandmother) is in charge. Sure, Abuelo may make a fuss, say things are going to happen his way "because he says so," but then he leaves the room and Abuela says, ‘You heard your grandfather? Forget everything he said, we’re doing it my way.’
The Democratic primary has been a test of this upbringing. And mi gente — we have passed with flying colors!
Unlike the gentle Abuelos I was fortunate enough to grow up with, Bernie Sanders turned out to be more of an aggressive Progressive than people would like to admit. He’s passively condoned the bullish behavior of his ‘Bernie Bros’ and has stubbornly said he's staying in the race, refusing to admit he’s lost to a woman.
Meanwhile, Hillary supporters are having a "coming out moment." For months they’ve had to apologize any time they posted something positive on social media or they’ve endured long misguided replies and sent each other private messages of support when they got nasty comments from Berners insisting Hillary was to the right of Dick Cheney.
Now that it’s official, I’m seeing a lot of Latinos openly celebrate the nomination, though not in the same way as my non-Latino friends. Yes, it took 240 years to nominate a woman and that is exciting. But I think what was amazing for Latinos is that we realized it's not about being the loudest in the room, it’s about letting Abuela do Abuela.
Hillary had the numbers, the experience and the leadership needed to persevere and she did. Her determination has brought her to this moment and although many men don’t understand what the big deal is, the fact that she is the first woman ever to be one of the two parties' presidential candidate is big, yuuuuge. She understands what’s at stake and she won’t suffer dangerous fools.
They say Latinos will make a difference in this election, and now that the Democratic candidate is Hillary, I am sure we will. We aren’t afraid of or put off by strong women. We were raised by them.
Besides, in Latin America there have already been nine women elected as presidents of their respective countries.
We know the best way to stop a bully in his tracks is not by countering with a different bully, but by supporting a woman making a stand. Hillary knows that too.
Carmen Pelaez is a Cuban American Miami-based filmmaker, writer and performer.