Hispanic Heritage Month | Vanessa Boy

Universal Orlando | Hispanic Heritage Month  Photography by Vanessa Boy (501 of 112)final.jpg

Outside of the career I built with photography, I am a wife, mom, daughter and sister. All titles I own proudly, because through these roles I shape how my son views history, tradition and culture. Most days are filled with projects, deadlines and checklists, yet still in the back of my mind there is a sense of obligation to not let my parent's sacrifices go in vain. There is a lot for my son to gain by understanding why his great grandparents sacrificed all they knew at a chance at a better future.

Universal Orlando | Hispanic Heritage Month  Photography by Vanessa Boy (440 of 112)final.jpg

At the age of 5, my mother and her 10 siblings packed up and left Puerto Rico to follow my grandfather’s hope to find steady and better paying work while living with an aunt in Brooklyn. At the age of 16, my dad (1 of 10 siblings) decided that he wanted to move to the united states with hopes of getting a stable job to support himself and his mother. My parents met in Milwaukee and married in the early fall of 1976 and so our story began.

With just 11 years of age, my father in law left Cuba with nothing but a few items and his visa. He was placed on a plane alone, with hopes to meet with a sister who had already made her way to the United States. Without knowing the language and without knowing when his parents would finally arrive, he started school and began a journey that would lead him to graduate from William Patterson College in New Jersey. My mother in-law and her parents arrived to the states during these times as well and built a life in Queens. After a few encounters at a salsa club in NYC, the rest was history.

We sat both sets of abuelos down and asked them to name what traditions they hope their grandkids keep alive and/or never forget:

  • Noche Buena (Christmas dinner)

  • Maintining regular family gatherings.

  • Love and respect of family elders.

  • The story of their heritage.

  • The language.

  • and of course, your day is not complete without your cafecito. Even if that means you bring your own espresso machine to the hotel.

Vanessa Boy