Every year, we’re honored to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month: a time to celebrate the inspiring contributions and stories of our Hispanic, Latino, Latina and Latinx Americans.
To learn more and celebrate together, more than 50 team members came together virtually across the state for a special event: A Celebration of Latinx Culture! Together we recognized Latinx contributions to US business, government and society, uncovered culturally competent methods to recruit, retain and engage Latinx team members and explored senses of identity to Latinx culture.
With more than 1.1 million children of Latinx heritage in Florida, it is our mission to ensure each is empowered to celebrate their background while feeling included and cherished as they are. During the event, our team members had the opportunity to share their personal backgrounds, hurdles, triumphs and worries with the wider team. Discussions included topics such as:
- Assimilation to “American” culture vs preservation of heritage
- Why families may choose to speak English vs Spanish or Portuguese in the home
- The unique struggles of parents and grandparents planting roots in a new country
- Challenges posed by the stereotyping of young children of Latinx descent
Quite simply, no topic was off-limits. When we explore together, we can better understand the challenges and opportunities faced by the kiddos we serve, so we can best support them and their families every day.
While the discussion was open to all, it was led by three panelists: Leidy Ramirez (Healthy Families Program Manager in Miami), Glorimar Michael (Administrative Supervisor along the Treasure Coast) and Catalina Caraballo (Senior Director of Talent Services and Engagement).
“Why is it important to celebrate Latinx culture”
“It’s important to celebrate all of our different cultures because there are so many. There are even cultures within the cultures. In Miami and across Florida, we are a melting pot and you do see the diversity but when you move away from places like South Florida, the vast variation isn’t always there and it can sometimes be tough to show the representation. When we are comfortable to show our culture… show who we fully are…and be able to contribute that, we can educate others and widen others’ perspectives and world views. Others need to have the opportunity to learn and listen.”
“Even the term Latinx is an opportunity to explore and unite our communities further. I’ve spotted some negativity around the term’s use, but that’s why it’s important to continue educating. Being a gender non-conforming term, it’s a way to be open and inclusive and accepting of all Latino, Latina and Latinx individuals as we celebrate together.”
“I have a first generation Colombian father and a mother who is a wide mix of European descent. I was born in South Florida and when others would ask me where I was from, I’d respond, “from here!”. They’d say, “Oh, so you’re American, you’re white”, which was confusing and hurtful to me because I felt like I couldn’t communicate or understand that I am just as American as I am Colombian. It’s important that I’ve been able to evolve since adolescence and realize that while some responded that way to me, there were also many people out there who genuinely want to know and learn more about my background. Being able to grow into that has been amazing.”
For more resources and initiatives like this one, check out CHS EDI.