Staff Stories: Celebrating Community with Adelante LatinX

Happy Latinx Heritage Month! Our staff is the heart of our organization, and we’re excited to highlight members of Adelante LatinX — one of BDT’s employee resource groups — who shared thoughts on the importance of this national month, serving and celebrating communities, and boosting cultural awareness.

Adelante LatinX aims to support and promote the advancement of Latinx culture at BDT. It fosters cultural inclusion, a supportive environment, and promotes professional development for all Latinx employees within the BDT community.

Why did you become a member of Adelante LatinX?

“I love being with the ERG because it feels like the family I crave. I enjoy the time we get to talk to each other in our meetings and being able to speak Spanish. I also enjoy having guidance with work and my Spanish clients.”  

- Chela, Benefits Outreach Specialist
“I’ve worked at BDT for over six years, and prior to the Adelante LatinX, I haven’t had a space to come together with the Latinx community at BDT to discuss everything from how I'm feeling at work, to how to handle certain situations on the phone with Spanish speaking clients. We had Spanish Small Teams before, but we did not meet often, and the focus of that group was to help translate one of our client databases. With Adelante, yes we would love to help with database improvements for Spanish speakers, but I also want to make sure our Latinx staff are being heard and have a voice!”  
- Jose, Contact Center Manager and Adelante LatinX Co-Chair

“I'm Colombian and Ecuadorian; it was only right to join Adelante LatinX. We share ideas and experiences while showing support for one another. We're part of a group who wants to help our community thrive.” 
- Carmen, Universal Outreach Specialist

“I wanted to celebrate our common heritage and share ideas with my coworkers about how to help Latinx community members who call BDT.”  
- Beatriz, Benefits Outreach Specialist

“I think this opportunity gets me closer to my peers – to know them and let them know who I am, what I do, and that I'm here for them as well. It also inspires me to explore how to make services more accessible to the Latinx community we serve.” \

- Estela, Benefits Outreach Specialist

Why is Latinx Heritage Month important to you? Do you have any traditions, favorite recipes, or activities you do to celebrate?

“Every day is a great day to celebrate my complex Boricua culture. But if we get a month to observe the achievements, progress, diversity and intersectionality of Latinxs in America, then it is absolutely important to represent and honor the people that paved the way for us and also to empower the generations behind us.”  

- Yvonne, Contact Center Supervisor and Adelante LatinX Co-Chair

“As someone who is really passionate about history, I love this month because it shares a piece of the incredible traditions that have been passed through generations and it showcases the diversity of the Latinx community for the country to see.” 
- Cristhian, Contact Center Supervisor

“Latinx Heritage Month is important to me because it's a time of celebration, reflection, and appreciation.
My family and I attend or watch (it's televised) the annual Puerto Rican parade in Philadelphia. There is so much pride and joy felt during this celebratory event. It's really amazing to see how many people come out to celebrate. One of my favorite Dominican recipes is Mangú Tres Golpes. It's a classic dish in the Dominican Republic. It consists of mashed green plantains, fried salami, fried eggs, fried cheese and a pickled red onion garnish.”  
- Tyeanna, Contact Center Supervisor
“It is important because it’s a time where the government acknowledges how much we do for this country and celebrates that we are part of it. In my hometown, they have Fiestas Patronales, which are like festivals held in each municipality of the Island that are dedicated to a patron saint or virgin of that town.”  
- Estela, Benefits Outreach Specialist

How has your experience as a member of the Latinx community influenced your relationship to the work that BDT does?

“This is the first time I’m able to use my bilingual advantage and actually help the Latinx community.”  

- Rosalie, Benefits Outreach Specialist

As a bilingual Benefits Outreach Specialist at BDT, I took great care to educate and assist our Spanish speaking callers. These processes are tough. Now, as a Contact Center Supervisor, I love supporting my bilingual direct reports to do the same. We get to help our community and that's priceless!”  

- Yvonne, Contact Center Supervisor and Adelante Latinx Co-Chair

If there was a piece of advice or education you could provide for people who aren’t a part of the community, what would it be?

“I think one thing that the Latinx community has shown to the world is the ability to persevere – as we often come from beautiful places where we’ve experienced some hardships and we’re forced to start over. But we get back up, even when we’ve been knocked down several times. The Latinx community is a proud one that never stops moving forward.”  

- Cristhian, Contact Center Supervisor

“My advice would be that not all Latinx people are the same. We may speak the same language, but we are so rich in diversity – from the way we speak to what we cook. I advise other communities to take the time to read and educate themselves about our differences and our similarities.”  
- Rosalie, Benefits Outreach Specialist

“Race and ethnicity are two different things. You can be White and Latinx, Black and Hispanic, etc.
There can be indigenous people from south/central America who don't identify as Latinx or Hispanic.
Someone who is Hispanic or Latinx but can't speak the language does not make them any less a part of the community. Spanish is not our native tongue and there is no "good Spanish" so stop being hard on those who use slang.”  
- Chela, Benefits Outreach Specialist

“Please, engage in every cultural interaction that you possibly can. Be willing to share those values that make you unique and grounded and listen to others’ perspective about the world and themselves. Cultural awareness can only be learned through constant interaction.”  
- Hilary, Bilingual Benefits Outreach Specialist

And lastly...share some fun facts about yourself!

“I lived in Ecuador for a year, I was the first in my family to go to college and receive a Bachelors, and I own a queer Latinx makeup shop.”  

- Chela, Benefits Outreach Specialist

“I enjoy being with my grandkids, reading, and watching movies.”  

- Rosalie, Benefits Outreach Specialist

“I eat banana with rice, love watching anime, and have a secret love of history – especially Latin American history.”  

- Cristhian, Contact Center Supervisor

“I love to cook and I often fuse cultures and flavors when preparing meals for family and friends. Food is love! When I'm not working at BDT, I am creating. On my free time I love to write, paint and delve into the arts. I was an English teacher in Sao Paolo, Brazil and most of my students were Japanese.  It was a cultural feast!” 

- Yvonne, Contact Center Supervisor and Adelante LatinX Co-Chair