Saturday, September 19, 2015

Coca-Cola Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month With A Tribute To Our Last Names. #OrgullosoDeSer

This is part of a sponsored campaign with DiMe Media and Coca-Cola. However, all opinions expressed are my own.

As a Latina and an only child, I have always felt the deep love and responsibility that comes with continuing the legacy of pride behind one of the biggest storytellers of my heritage - my last name.  My last name means more to me than just five letters, that are actually a palindrome. Salas is the last name I received from my father, the man I have always been able to count on unconditionally throughout my entire life. It is my connection to my Cuban roots, the land I never got to experience first hand, and whose air I haven't been able to breathe; but the very same culture that pulsates through my veins, and through the memories instilled there by my parents and grandparents.

My last name tells a story. It tells a story of a family who lived in Cuba and who started a new life in the United States in the early 1960s. It encases the values, morals and convictions of a hard-working man named Miguel, who met the love of his life, Martha, while in exile, married her and together they gave birth to a curly haired little girl they named Maria. Salas also holds decades of memories for me of a happy childhood surrounded by family that supported my endeavors and always made me feel that my Latina roots were a major force that shaped the person I am. I embraced that truth every time I saw my parents working hard to bring me a future of hope, despite not speaking the language and basically having to start over from scratch. If that wasn't enough, my last name brings me comfort and security, because I know that no matter what, my parents will always be with me every time somebody calls my name.

During Hispanic Heritage Month, Coca-Cola is celebrating Latino culture by highlighting this very same source of pride, our last name. Through their #OrgullosoDeSer campaign, Coca-Cola invites all of us to share a story of why our family name makes us unique and #OrgullosoDeSer #[InsertLastName].  It makes a lot of sense that Coca-Cola would be a part of this special time of year with us, since they have been present throughout so many of the important moments in Hispanics families' lives. I know for us they were even a part of my daughter's Quince pictures, when she insisted on taking a photograph during her shoot, sipping her favorite soda.

To kick-off this campaign, Coca-Cola created a unique film that embraces the feelings of pride our last names bring us. Families in the the film share their individual stories and history, and display their pride by applying a temporary tattoo of their last name using the Coca-Cola Heritage Tattoo can. It's a touching tribute to all Latinos that brings to life the passion we feel about who we are.

I always vowed I'd never give up my last name - and I didn't.  Even during my marriage, my last name continued to be a part of me I could never let go of.  I am Maria Salas, the proud daughter of Miguel and Martha Salas, a family with its own unique story, that despite adversity, remains united and proud in a land that is not their own. And while I was born here in America, the power of my last name reminds me that I am a Latina down to the core. I remind my daughter everyday that she too should be proud of her culture and her last name, because it is in its essence that we share the history of our lives. I am #OrgullosoDeSer #Salas. Take a look at a video of my story….

I know many of you would enjoy a similar nostalgic experience and Coca-Cola is offering you the opportunity to live it. You can purchase your very own personalized bottle by visiting Coca-Cola's website at   I absolutely love displaying my Share a Coke contour bottle personalized with my last name and I know you will too. Bottom line - I'm proud of who I am and I want the world to know it.  Oh and don't forget to join Coca-Cola and I, in celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month by sharing your #OrgullosodeSer #[InsertLastName] with your family and friends on your social media platforms. Hasta pronto...

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