National Hispanic Heritage Month is upon us, from September 15th to October 15th, in which time we celebrate the histories, cultures and contributions of global citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, Central and South America.
Did you know that Hispanics are one of the largest ethnic groups in the US? As of 2020, 19% of the US population was made up of people of Hispanic descent. Or did you know that around 250,000 people of hispanic heritage live in the UK, half of those living in London?
Welcoming those from different cultural backgrounds is key here at Wunderkind, as we aim to carry each other and celebrate what makes us unique. We’re all about connecting with our coworkers and friends, whether that’s through food (smoky empanadas–no, not Taco Bell), dance (sensual salsa), or music (from Celia Cruz to Bad Bunny; Anitta to Romeo Santos).
Somoskind is Wunderkind’s Hispanic and Latino/x Employee Resource Group (ERG). They aim to uplift Wunderkinds by encouraging exploration of their identity in a supportive space. This empowerment allows us to bring cultural awareness to the greater Wunderkind community through educational outreach and celebration of heritage.
To hear first hand about the celebrated world of Latin American heritage, we spoke to Cesar and Melvin, co-leads of Somoskind.
What does your heritage mean to you?
Melvin said, ‘I’m just so proud to be Latino, I think it’s so cool. We’re all from different places, and that should just be celebrated. It’s like the Bad Bunny song, El Apagón, where he says “Ahora todos quieren ser latino’, no, ey Pero les falta sazón.”’
Cesar agreed. ‘One thing I really appreciate about the heritage itself is the way we come together, who we are, and what we put out to the world.’
Can this heritage bring about challenges or make you feel misunderstood?
Cesar noted, ‘I think we can be really proud people, and sometimes this can get lost or misconstrued. It can be seen as a bit aggressive, but really we’re just very proud. This can be a bit hindering our heritage.’
Melvin observed, ‘When Latina and Black Women are assertive or about their business, they can be boxed into being ‘aggressive’ or ‘angry women of color’. This can be difficult when working in white, corporate America. Another struggle I face is not understanding the context of certain conversations my white peers have because we had different upbringings. It can be as simple as a TV show or movie reference and I don’t get it because I didn’t grow up watching that.’
What do you celebrate most about your heritage and want to share with others?
Melvin said, ‘I’m proud of being from somewhere so unique; not many people have heard of Honduras. There’s so much erasure of central America, but it’s important to be recognized for who we are, in Central America. I always say that I’m from a five star country because our actual flag has five stars! The five stars are five Spanish speaking countries in central America, and then the two blue rectangles are the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean.’
Cesar continued, ‘I’m so proud of the way we won’t give up. Success is such a huge thing in our heritage, whether that’s spiritual or financial, it’s so celebrated.’
What’re you doing within Wunderkind to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month?
Cesar said, ‘We’re kicking Hispanic Heritage Month off with our trivia night on Thursday 15th September.’
Melvin added, ‘We also have ‘country highlights’ where we’re going to go through each Spanish speaking country and share facts about them. We’ll be sharing family recipes to celebrate our heritage where people can cook along, and the month culminates in a huge party!’
The goal of Hispanic Heritage Month is to come together as a family to understand our differences and similarities. We want to amplify the voices of the community in tech, and beyond.
Want to learn more about Hispanic heritage and art? Check out the Frida Kahlo & Diego Rivera exhibition in London, or head down to the ‘Home is a Foreign Place’ exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Interested in learning about the achievements and contributions of Hispanic Americans who have inspired others? Check out the Library of Congress Archives. To support authentic businesses, buy from local Mexican, Caribbean, Indigenous, and Latin American shops, explore authentic art, and check out the many flavors that are on offer by eating at a Hispanic and/or Latino/x restaurant–you won’t regret it!