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Jun 10, 2021

Young Mayan Woman Embraces Heritage in Graduation Dress

A young Belizean woman is trending on social media today after Facebook pictures show her attending her high school graduation wearing traditional Mayan attire.  While many graduates are stepping out in their trendy outfits, Emily used this milestone in her life to raise awareness of her culture and people.  News Five’s Paul Lopez spoke to Emily Sacbá, who lives in Punta Gorda, over the phone. 


Paul Lopez, Reporting

Eighteen years old Emily Darlene Sacbá recently graduated the Toledo Community College. This trail blazer decided to walk the graduation stage in her multicolored traditional Maya wear, to represent her culture.


On the Phone: Emily Darlene Sacbá, Graduate, Toledo Community College

“I decided to wear my outfit because it is just something I love. My culture, I am not ashamed of my culture. And, because my grandmother and my mom, we are indigenous people and we don’t have to be ashamed of our clothing, speaking, everything.”


Paul Lopez

“Did you feel out of place?”


On the Phone: Emily Darlene Sacbá

“Oh no, of course not, because I know my outfit is very, very attractive.”


Emily says she got the dress from her grandmother. She and her family migrated to Belize from Guatemala in 2015. Most days she can be found assisting her mother at their textile store in Punta Gorda town. There she dreams of studying medicine and one day becoming a doctor.


On the Phone: Emily Darlene Sacbá

“I plan to study medicine; I don’t know where. But I want to be a doctor in the future and help indigenous people like me. But not only indigenous people, but all cultures.”


Her message to people like herself, with indigenous backgrounds, is for them to embrace the uniqueness of their culture and language.


On the Phone: Emily Darlene Sacbá

“…to not be ashamed of the clothing and the speaking because our culture is unique. And now, some females young ladies feel like, because I always stay in my mom store, I notice that some females don’t want to speak the language and that is very sad.”


Reporting for News Five, I am Paul Lopez.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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