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We’re celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month here at Genesys. Personally, I’m thrilled to be an ambassador for this celebration. I’m very much looking forward to a month full of learning — where we all can share, discuss and enjoy Hispanic culture. It’s also a chance to discuss the incredible complexity of the Hispanic experience with everyone. It can be easy to generalize what being Hispanic means but, in reality, understanding Hispanic culture is complex. Some people choose to identify as Latinx. Others prefer to identify by country. Still others prefer indigenous group levels. And this just scratches the surface.
I was born and raised in Peru. My native tongue is Spanish. But both of my parents are Hungarian. They moved to Peru before I was born. This is far from uncommon in Latin America. I lived in Latin America for decades before moving to the US and becoming a citizen. Here, I’m proud to call myself an Hispanic American, though many people in the US are unaware that an Hispanic person can be of any race. It isn’t just a racial designation; it’s a cultural one.
This month gives us the opportunity to celebrate the rich variety of cultural influences that contribute to the Hispanic experience — both here and in Latin America. Every year, the US observes Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15th to October 15th. It’s a celebration of the cultural contributions and importance of Latinx Americans to the fabric of American society.
The observance began as Hispanic Heritage Week in 1968 under President Lyndon Johnson. The celebration was expanded to a month when it was enacted into law in 1988. Today, 32 years later, it this month-long celebration gives us an opportunity to be advocates for the Hispanic community here in the US. We look to build a more inclusive future while we also celebrating our unique contributions.
What are some ways you can celebrate? Well, it starts with learning and education. Go online and learn about Latinx history. Find out what virtual museum experiences and online cultural events are available. Go to Latinx neighborhoods and immerse yourself in the vibe there. Spend money in those businesses.
And, of course, make every excuse to eat as much delicious food as possible. If you can, dig in a little deeper. Go to Latinx markets for your supplies. Get authentic recipes. See how much love and energy goes into some of the traditional dishes — and learn exactly how rewarding it can be to create those flavors yourself. As someone who loves cooking, I truly recommend this and it’s so much fun!
At Genesys, we’re planning some events to help celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month. In fact, I hope that this month of celebration will help jumpstart the formation of an inclusion group for our Latinx employees. In the end, that’s the essence of the celebration: inclusion. Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated in the US to remind people that our societal contributions should be valued. I, like many others, came here looking for opportunity. Let’s take a month to think about how we can help extend those opportunities to others.
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