Hispanic Heritage Month: Stories From Mariettans

Hispanic Heritage Month: Stories From Mariettans

Visit Marietta values the significance of Hispanic Heritage Month, so we encourage you to read these stories from Mariettans of Hispanic descent.

My name is Nathaniel Emiliano Thomas…

…Hereby known as Emil Thomas, the Executive Artistic Director of Marietta’s Theatre in the Square. I am a third generation Afro-Latino with blood hailing from the gorgeous island of Puerto Rico. My middle name is a family name passed down from my great grandfather of my father’s side. He was Emiliano Thomas. My grandfather carried his name as his middle name, and likewise my father and myself. As a child who was also invested in the arts, my grandmother would always speak to me about how I would one day be rich and famous and would need a stage name. Emiliano was the family named needed to stay protected, but Emil, the shortened version, was just jazzy enough for her vison of me.

Over the last near decade that I have gone by the name Emil, its roots of my family bloodline have grown stronger and stronger. We are a people who would love to celebrate. Food. Music. Dancing. Chanting. They are all pieces of me that were passed down by my family. Today when you enter the Emil Theatre and I take the stage, I welcome you to your home, our home, our safe place to celebrate with music, food, dancing, and chants. It’s an opportunity to be ourselves in full flesh. A chance to continue creating memories that are us. Emil, or Emiliano is a name to me that has come to mean celebration and on this and every Hispanic Heritage Month, I hope that that joy is shared with all in Marietta.



Hola! My name is Rosan Rivera Petrillo….

…I moved to the USA from the island of Puerto Rico in 1997, having completed a master’s degree in Industrial Organizational Psychology. I’ve worked in multiple industries and traveled to various countries. The city of Marietta has become home after experiencing life in a wonderful neighborhood where I enjoyed neighbors from around the world… Nigeria, France, Mexico, Sweden, Philippines all in one same road. It amazed me that in such a simple place we could have such a sample of the many cultures representing the world, right at our fingertips.

My husband and I have made Marietta our permanent home, we met in Georgia, got married in Marietta and had our two children in Marietta.

We enjoy the growth and development of our community and are blessed to feel welcomed and appreciated for who we are. From the theaters in the square, to the restaurants, to the wonderful museums and parks, we enjoy it all! Our family and friends truly enjoy their visit when they are in town because of the delicious food, eclectic music and beautiful art that are showcased in our wonderful city.

During Hispanic Heritage Month, as I celebrate my heritage as a Latina, memories of my homeland and of my ancestors rush to my mind inspiring me to share how I identify myself… in a poetic way. The poem I’m sharing is titled ‘To be Me- A Spanglish Poem”. I purposely wrote in Spanglish as both languages have influenced me throughout my life and are part of who I am. I hope that it will inspire you to get to know others, their stories and what makes them who they are.

We all belong to this impressive world and contribute to building history with every step we take and every story we share.

¡Feliz Mes de la Herencia Hispana!


Poem: To be Me (English Translation)

By Rosan Rivera Petrillo 

Could I explain it in words? With feeling I would like to describe what with my spirit defines me as Puerto Rican.

What is it to be Latina that makes me who I want to be? Could it be the flavor of Salsa, or the color of Plena, the tasty rhythm of Bomba that makes me wiggle my hips.

Taino heritage, European and the powerful Black race that united in praise made me ‘Borinqueña’.

Is it the sun on our skin, is it the aroma of the roasted pig, must be the taste on my tongue of my grandmother’s rice and beans?

Is it the hope of our people, the struggle that within us flies to the heights of our culture and to eternal resilience?

When you recognize the fury, the essence of sweat and land, it is the hard work and boldness of those who leave their homeland to save their own heritage. It is the affection, the kindness of our people that thunders like an advancing storm to take care of others who are in need.

It is the identity that makes us from here, there and everywhere, because no matter your origin you feel you are Latin of pure strain.