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“Hispanic Heritage Month means breaking barriers, educating each other, and sharing tradition.”

—Isidra Quiñones, Myra H. Kraft Director of Volunteer and Alumni Services

As we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, Senior Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Nick Sailor asked some of our staff about how they use this month and their latinidad as a driving force behind their work with our young people.

At Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston, we are committed to uplifting and celebrating our communities. During Hispanic Heritage month, we have an opportunity to reflect on both the multiplicity of Latin-American Heritage, and the collective pride of Latino/a culture here in Boston and Chelsea.

The Latino/a community in Boston and Chelsea has and continues to be a hallmark of strength, beauty, and unparalleled joy. During Hispanic Heritage Month, we will not simply share and enjoy in many of the staples of Hispanic culture and share stories of Latino/a leaders that have shaped our communities, but we will work to create meaningful change and opportunities for our communities in Boston and Chelsea through the execution of our mission.

We asked Jen Medina, Dana Smith Director of Workforce Readiness, and Isidra Quiñones, Myra H. Kraft Director of Volunteer and Alumni Services, about the importance of celebrating their latinidad in their work.

What does Hispanic Heritage Month mean to you?

Jen: It’s putting a focus on what I celebrate every day. It’s a time to celebrate my story, my family’s story, my ancestors, and ongoing. It allows us to break free from the assumptions and have the space to define what it means to be a part of the Hispanic and Latinx culture, whether that’s through music, visual arts, storytelling, and more! It applauds the many successes and obstacles that helped shaped today’s world, nationally and internationally.

Isidra: I love to hear Frankie Ruiz on the stereo, I love my brown skin, I love the curls that hang from my daughter’s head, I love that her favorite dish is arroz con gandules. We celebrate all that is part of what defines us. From the language to the rich family traditions, it is beautiful! I love the continuous learning from the contributions made by Latinos past and present.

What do you hope our members/community learn or grow from during Hispanic Heritage Month?

Jen: It is my hope that our members and community gain a better understanding and appreciation of the pride that lies within the Latin cultures (beyond the sombreros!). Each Latin culture has its distinct food, music, and cultural traditions, but our commonalities reinforce the importance of familia, respect, work ethic, and community.

Isidra: Be proud! Rep that flag and share your traditions and culture with those around you. Be proud of your language, your culture, and feel empowered to be your true self in every setting you find yourself in. Do not change to fit an image that isn’t you.

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