Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month- A Tribute to My Papi

3 Generations Celebrating

The drive to achieve the American Dream for their children is too strong to allow much to get in the way. 


After longing personally for many years that Latinos would play a deciding role in American politics, we certainly appear to have that in spades this election year.

I am not convinced the politicians are truly concerned about us, for anything other than getting our votes; I hope not, but I am not overly optimistic. 

So in the midst of seemingly all things political, I am so happy that we have the opportunity to celebrate ourselves; not just what others see us accomplishing, but what we ourselves recognize in each other. 

And, nothing defines our culture more than family, love and hard work. I feel privileged to be a participant in National Hispanic Heritage Month because it allows us to celebrate these values that anchor our success. 

Mi Papi

There generations Hispanic Heritage MonthIn my life, my father, Marcos Vializ, has been my role model in ensuring that I respect and live up to our Hispanic heritage in every way possible. 

I dedicate this writing to my loving Papi who,  at 89 years old, continues to cheerlead whatever I want to do. 

My parents came to the Bronx, New York from Puerto Rico in the early 50’s; joining millions of others from the Island. 

Getting through desperate times during the Great Depression and general poverty, they all had a strong desire for a better life.

New York represented a land of opportunity indeed.  

As my father says, “I landed at the airport on a Sunday, started work the next day and didn’t stop for 40 years.”

Plastic furniture covers

They worked for years in factories and later on my dad started his own very small business, selling plastic furniture covers. 

Believe me, they were all the rage in the 60’s! This started my business education, at the age of 6.  He used to take me on some of his door-to-door sales calls. 

I think he believed that his odds of closing the sale were higher when I was along.  Who would turn down a man in front of his 6 year old kid? LOL. 

I always remember his first lesson to me: “Miriam, all of my customers are pretty.”  It was his way of saying that each and every customer is to be respected and valued.  It has certainly proven to be wise advice in all of my endeavors.

What is easy for me to forget is that my parents were outsiders.  Yet, they never mentioned anything about it. 

For my Papi and countless others who joined him and who followed, the love of family, faith and hard work overcomes all barriers. The drive to achieve the American Dream for their children is too strong to allow much to get in the way. 

Thank you to all of them for being our guiding lights each and every day. 

Related articles:

Hispanic Heritage Month, Dedicated to Les “Coach” Fernandez

Hispanic Heritage Inspiration Celebrated

How Hispanic Heritage Month Changed, Why That’s a Good Thing

About the author

Miriam Vializ Briggs

Miriam is a co-founder of Briggs & Briggs Marketing Services, offering marketing training and consulting services to small businesses.  Miriam holds an MBA from Columbia University School of Business and a BA from Barnard College, Columbia University.  In recognition of her business leadership, she was named one of the “Elite 20 Hispanic women in business” by Hispanic Business magazine (2006) and selected as Corporate Executive of the Year by the National Society of Hispanic MBAs (2004). Currently, Miriam serves on the Board of Advisors to the Center for Minorities and People with Disabilities in IT and Latin Business Today  Contact information: www.brandmarketingtips.com