Inside thomson reuters

National Hispanic Heritage Month: A time for learning and celebration

Jonathan, Spanish Legal Writer, Minnesota
Rogelio, Director, Business Development & Strategy, New York City
Gricel, Spanish Legal Writer, Minnesota 

National Hispanic Heritage Month is a time to recognize and celebrate the rich history, culture, and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America.

We sat down with three inspiring colleagues to learn more about the significance of this month and the challenges that Hispanic and Latino Americans continue to face.

What does Hispanic Heritage Month mean to you?

Jonathan: Hispanic Heritage Month is relatively new to me. I have lived in the United States for 10 years and in Minnesota for almost six; it is here where I started to learn more about this topic and the celebration itself. Hispanic Heritage Month represents pride, empathy, and a daily struggle to recognize our value as Hispanics in the United States.

Rogelio: It's a time to recognize and celebrate the impact Hispanic culture has — and continues to have — in the United States. It is also an opportunity to be more inclusive of people from all backgrounds, including those with Portuguese, Brazilian, and Ibero-American heritage.

Gricel: To me, Hispanic Heritage Month is all about embracing inclusion and diversity in our communities. Every year we take a moment to recognize the contributions of Hispanic Americans to the culture and achievements of the United States. By doing this, we are telling the next generations that learning from different points of view is valuable and that respect matters.

What issues matter most to you and that you feel deserve more attention?

Jonathan: Some issues must be addressed, such as recognition for the work that people of Hispanic origin do daily that is often take for granted. Also, acknowledging the diversity that the Hispanic culture has, from its language, food, and traditions.

Rogelio: In a word: representation. Representation with our government officials, representation in media, and in the workplace and leadership positions.

Gricel: It is not a secret that it is challenging when immigrants arrive in a country with a different language and culture. But, a more problematic situation is when they need legal assistance and do not know how the legal system works in the United States. In most cases, the first emotion they show is fear. Here at Thomson Reuters, I have an opportunity to write content and articles about typical queries Spanish speakers have regarding legal issues; I have learned the importance of offering reliable information to reduce apprehension and misunderstandings about how the law works.

Why is your participation in the Latino Employee Network business resource group important to you?

Jonathan: It is essential because it enhances the diversity that the company has. In addition, my participation allows me to publicize the culture and talent that Hispanics bring to Thomson Reuters.

Rogelio: I believe in taking real, tangible action. It's easy to be a social media activist. It's harder to get your hands dirty and try to drive change, especially within an organization, and that’s the opportunity the Latino Employee Network provides me.

Gricel: The Latino Employee Network is an enrichment program that works in multiple ways and allows us all to learn and share. Listening to the experience of other immigrants like me allows me to learn how to succeed in developing my career, all while keeping my identity. At the same time, we all share our backgrounds and culture to explain similarities and differences.

How do you plan on celebrating Hispanic Heritage month with your friends, family, and colleagues?

Jonathan: Within Thomson Reuters, we have several events to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month. One of my favorite events is the presentation of the Latin American countries, where we learn about the different customs, food, tourist destinations, slang, and history. I also like sharing time with my colleagues from other states and learning about their projects and thoughts.

Rogelio: I plan to take this time to learn more about other Ibero-American countries. "Hispanic/Ibero-American" is a catch-all phrase that fails to recognize that every country is different. From vocabulary, food, history, culture, and customs, there are important differences — and of course similarities — among the 20+ countries that comprise Ibero-America.

Gricel: The past two years have been difficult in many ways. The best thing we all can do this year to celebrate Hispanic Heritage month is share our stories to demonstrate that it is acceptable to be different and it is satisfactory to be smart with “acento.”

A final thought from Jonathan

Being Latino or Hispanic is a source of pride. Celebrating and sharing it is something we should do daily — not just during Hispanic Heritage Month. Speaking Spanish, dancing to our music, and eating our typical food should be incorporated in our daily lives so that our children, relatives, and friends who were born in the United States identify with our culture.

Thanks to Jonathan, Rogelio, and Gricel for sitting down with us to reflect on the importance of Hispanic Heritage month. To learn more about Thomson Reuters Latino Employee Network, read their latest blog post.

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