American (of which there are so many different varieties!) I feel like I should tell you I grew up in the rural Midwest, and only later lived in cities, in the U.S. and abroad.
What do you do for a living?
I have mainly worked to support immigrants and encourage respect and appreciation for diverse people from all over the world. I currently work at Inspiritus, a refugee resettlement affiliate of Lutheran Immigration and Refugees Services, in Savannah, GA as a Case Manager for newly arrived refugees. I am also Co-Chair of the Lowcountry Immigration Coalition.
Why the Lowcountry?
I live in Bluffton, SC; moved here just under 2 years ago to be with the man that would become my fiancé and who is now my husband. He lived here and he had recently immigrated from Venezuela. The weather is very different than my native Wisconsin, but I am not complaining! Beach is better than snow.
What does Hispanic culture mean to you?
Well, Hispanic culture is very diverse – from Mexico to Central America to South America, Spain, even places in Asia like the Philippines. And of course, Hispanics live all over the world and meld culture with the culture around them. I live in a “Latino” household. For me, I think sometimes that this household is a lot more boisterous and noisy than my previous one! But it is full of life.
Can you give a message to Hispanic women?
I would say to “own your space.” That is a way of saying in English to believe in your right to belong. You are part of this community in every way as the next person is. As American women, we can benefit from seeing your confidence and learning about your unique stories and lives, just as everyone has something unique to contribute. There’s a quote from Howard Thurman that reads: “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” Consider what this would look like in your paid work, volunteer work, and leisure too. Don’t forget to take care of yourself, also. I am continually working on the latter even after 41 years of life.