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Welcome to the beginning of Hispanic Heritage Month. Initially introduced in June 1968 by Congressman George E. Brown, Hispanic Heritage Month was created to recognize the Latinx and Hispanic communities in southern California. It originally was a single week of commemoration until then President Ronald Reagan extended it to 30 days.
The celebratory month begins on September 15, the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries — Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence on September 16 and September 18, respectively. The celebration Dia de la Raza (Race Day) on October 12 rounds out the month.
The holiday formally recognized as Columbus Day has been renamed to commemorate the “Day of the [Hispanic] People,” as it was the first encounter between Europeans and Native Americans. Hispanic Heritage month officially ends on October 15th, but the recognition and appreciation for all the ways Hispanic and LatinX cultures have influenced our world should continue year-round.
Genesys Women of Color (GWoC) was founded three years ago with a mission to hire, retain and promote women of color. We strive to foster a community and safe space for women of color and allies to share their experiences, uplift each other and ask thoughtful questions. And GWoC is proud to collaborate with Genesys Latinx in Tech (GLiT) EMEA to host a month full of events for Hispanic Heritage Month.
According to “Women in the Workplace 2022,” a McKinsey report, “Some groups of women are even less likely to be promoted to manager. For every 100 men promoted from entry level to manager, only 75 Latinas are promoted — and this number is even lower for Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, and Indigenous women.”
It’s important to highlight this month in celebration, emphasize the culture and bring awareness to the diversity within this community.
We encourage everyone to celebrate the amazing achievements and rich culture. There are so many ways to immerse yourself in the complex cultures within Hispanic and Latino communities.
Food is always the most fun and tasty way to dive into any culture. Look up the best local Latin restaurants in your area. Be bold and try something new off the menu — and take the time to learn the story behind the restaurant and the traditions you’re supporting. Take it one step further and try a new recipe in your own kitchen. You can find recipes online from famous Latinx chefs like Aarón Sánchez, José Andrés and Daniela Soto-Innes.
Another great way to celebrate is to educate yourself on the significance of the month and learn about each of the countries that are honored. You can find books, articles, podcasts and videos for different stories, perspectives and experiences from the Hispanic and Latinx communities.
I’m first-generation American from Mexico. I grew up in southern Californian and moved to Indiana in high school and remained here. I miss the days of growing up in southern California around my enormous family who embraced everything about Mexican culture. My cousins’ second birthday party always required a three-day-long celebration. I also miss family gatherings and, of course, dinners together.
Moving to Indiana minimized a lot of that and made it important for me to find a community in which I could experience this — in my local community and professionally. Genesys provides a place that allows us to create these communities and feel closer to those who might not be close physically.
GWoC was the perfect opportunity for me to become involved again in this community. I originally got involved with GWoC as a committee lead handling our events calendar. Being involved in the group was extremely important to me because I was eager to join a strong community that focused on overcoming the challenges most women of color face in a corporate organization. I committed two years as a committee lead before moving to co-chair of GWoC to take on the bigger initiative of enacting that change.
This month is important to me because it brings awareness of this culture to those that may not be familiar with it. It brings me so much joy sharing and educating the importance of this month with everyone.
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