Hispanic and Latino Americans have made vast and vital global contributions and their positive influence is felt in all aspects of life and society. They represent an array of distinct and vibrant cultures, each of which enriches our communities.
Recently, in recognition of National Hispanic Heritage Month, Vanguard’s Hispanic/Latino Organization for Leadership (HOLA) sponsored several small forums entitled HOLA VOCES at its Charlotte, Malvern, and Scottsdale offices. Each forum featured opening remarks from a HOLA leader, followed by a facilitated discussion focused on the Hispanic experience that considered reactions to recent events including the El Paso shootings and rising tensions around immigration.
In his opening remarks during a Malvern session, Hector M. Salcido-Torres, Fund Financial Services senior line manager, said, “You should be comfortable having conversations that are uncomfortable. It is impossible to leave it at the door. You may not agree but at least break down the barriers.”
Hector, an eighth generation Arizonan of Mexican descent, shared his grandparents’ experiences of attending segregated schools and being punished for speaking Spanish. Hector encouraged the audience, “Push yourself, drive yourself for the people that came before you. Being lazy is an insult to the people in heaven who are rooting for you.”
During the ensuing small group discussions, which included crew of Cuban, Salvadorian, Peruvian, Mexican, and Puerto Rican ethnic origins, thoughts and reactions were openly shared. Understanding that collective minorities will be the majority in the U.S. by 2030, crew universally agreed that they sought to assimilate, but also wanted to show up and be their honest selves. “I feel recent events in the U.S. have had a significant impact on the Hispanic and Latino community,” said Sejla Karalic, senior project manager in the Institutional Investor Group. “And some of the issues really resonate with me as an immigrant to this country.”
HOLA will sponsor several more VOCES forums thorough out the coming year, to bring crew from all walks of life together to share and learn from each other. “My experience with HOLA started with curiosity, which led to involvement, and now engagement,” said Nicholas Fernandez, Emerging Leader Development Program participant. “Being a part of events like the VOCES series makes me feel closer to my heritage and more at home at Vanguard.”