Angela Tidwell - t

BC ACE it coach passes proud Hispanic heritage on to her children

BC ACE it coach passes proud Hispanic heritage on to her children

Tue Oct 12, 2021

Angela Tidwell

BC ACE it RISE Coach Angela Tidwell holds up a photo from a family gathering.

Angela Tidwell is proud of her Hispanic heritage and has made it a priority to raise her children with a similar amount of pride. She wants her kids to know what it means to be Hispanic — the culture, the past, the traditions — and she believes it’s important for them to understand the struggles her ancestors have experienced.   

She is passionate about this because her upbringing didn’t provide her the same opportunities.

“I love both of my parents, but I was very Americanized at a young age,” Angela, a Brazosport College ACE it RISE coach, said of her childhood. “My parents worked extremely hard and wanted a completely different life for their children. They didn’t even teach us Spanish. In fact, none of my five siblings speak Spanish.

“I kind of grew up feeling that I didn’t have a place in any group,” she added.

Despite this, Angela has many fond memories of her youth. At the same time, she feels it is imperative that her children are raised with a stronger focus on their heritage.

She admits that being Hispanic means different things for different people but, for her, two traits quickly come to mind: having a strong work ethic and fostering a love for family.

“Both of my parents came from working-class families,” she said. “My grandmother on my dad’s side had 12 kids and my mom had six siblings, so they both came from big families.

“I probably have 55 cousins, if not more,” she added with a laugh. “We’re a large family and we take pride in that. You should see our family get-togethers. There’s a whole group of people that has lived this Tex-Mex, Chicano life — going to Grandma’s house on the weekend, listening to Spanish music. It’s the culture.”

Angela also believes her heritage has a rich tradition of working hard to make a better life for one’s family. This is obvious through the experiences of her own parents, who both struggled financially immediately after arriving in America, but eventually earned academic degrees and enjoyed successful careers.

“I think our culture knows that if we work hard that we can make the money to do other things,” Angela said. “My dad worked hard because his dad worked hard, and he worked hard because his dad worked hard, and so on. It’s a generation of people striving to make their lives better for themselves and their families.”

However, Angela wants her kids to be culturally aware so they can help break some of the preconceived opinions that exist regarding their culture.

“I think it’s important that my kids know where they come from so we can continue moving in the right direction,” she said. “There are so many stereotypes out there. We need to break that because we don’t fit into these boxes. It’s not like that at all.”

But more than anything, Angela wants her children to not only be familiar with their heritage, but to also be proud of it.

“I take pride in being Hispanic and breaking stereotypes, working hard and letting my kids know our culture,” she said. “I want them to understand how difficult it was back then compared to what it is now. I’m Mexican-American and nobody can take that away from me.

“My heritage is in everything I do — the food that I cook, the music I listen to,” she added. “It’s an important part of me that I didn’t feel connected to growing up. I’m revisiting it now and I’m making sure my children experience it too.”