How Gave Me a Renewed Sense of Pride

In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs from September 15 through October 15, staffers have taken to for more insight into their families and heritage – while blogging about their findings. Here’s one staffer’s experience.

I’ve always been curious about my cultural background. It started in college when I started taking Latino studies classes. Until college all I learned about my Incan ancestors was pretty much, they had a nice run. But then the Spanish came along and you know the rest. My desire to know more led me down a path of reading books on the powerful Incas and their brilliant empire. Earlier in my journalistic career I even used one of the last Incan emperor’s names, Atahualpa, as a pen name. I’ve also always suspected my last name has roots in Italy. Look at it: Tri (three) vino (wine). Over the years, I’ve learned the difference between the surnames Trivino and Trevino—one is South American and the latter is usually Mexican. 

Although, doesn’t go back all the way to Incan times (yet), it did provide me with some valid information. For example, my father’s given name is Arnulfo not Arnoldo. I double-checked it with my mom. Apparently, he hated his name and when he emigrated to the U.S. from Guayaquil, Ecuador in 1967, he changed it. Good choice.

On my mother’s side I didn’t really discover anything new. Yet, it did spark a need to ask her about her parents. Apparently, my grandfather, Cesar Alarcon, was an English teacher in Guayaquil. Due to the lack of economic growth in the educational field, he decided to pickup his father’s trade, carpentry. He traveled with his brothers between Colombia, Peru and Ecuador for work. He died at the age of 40 of a brain tumor in 1966. A year later, my father, a courier for an airline, decided to immigrate to Brooklyn, NY. Today I’m empowered by my Incan roots, my grandfather’s thirst for knowledge and my parents’ adventurous spirits.

Jesus Trivino Alarcon is Latina magazine's Entertainment Editor.