September 15 through October 15 is Hispanic & Latinx Heritage Month. To celebrate, we will be spotlighting some of our incredible and dedicated employees, their work, and their stories every Thursday throughout the month in a special Q&A. Next, we are spotlighting our very own Marketing Communications Manager, Rosie Sandoval! Stay tuned to learn more about our proud Hispanic and Latinx employees every week on our NewsCenter and social media channels.
What advice (personal or professional) would you give to others of Hispanic/Latinx heritage?
You have a voice, so don’t be afraid to use it. Ask questions, share your opinions, and don’t apologize for doing it. As a member of the Latinx community, we bring a different perspective and can really affect positive change.
Latinos have a long history of conservation and environmentalism, as outlined in an article from Grist and this Earth Justice poll. How do you practice sustainability in your own life?
Growing up we recycled and reused and limited energy use – all in an effort to save money. If our house was cold, my dad would tell me to do housework to warm up. On summer nights, if we were hot, we would put our sheets in the freezer for a bit and then cover ourselves to cool off. Lights were never left on if no one was in the room. As a kid, I was griped about these rules. Now, as a mother concerned with climate change and what that will mean for my children, I appreciate how I was raised. I hope to teach my children those same values. We recycle and we reuse, we drive an electric vehicle, we tend to use more fans than A/C, we eat less meat, and we even compost. While some actions may seem small, like going paperless for all your bills, collectively we can all make changes and live more sustainably.
What are your passions outside of work?
READING! Knowledge is power and if you don’t have the ability to travel and learn more about other cultures, people, and places, you can always read. Not only does it help build your vocabulary, but it allows you to view things from the point of view of others and help grow your empathy. Sometimes, reading allows me to appreciate the blessings in my life, but also my own struggles.
Here is a list of some of my favorite Latinx books:
- For Brown Girls with Sharp Edges and Tender Hearts: A Love Letter to Women of Color by Prisca Dorcas Mojica Rodríguez – This book spoke to my Latina heart! Told through the eyes of a Nicaraguan immigrant mujerista, Rodríguez empowers women to decolonize their worldview and defy universal narratives by telling their own stories. Right from the Introduction, we are inspired to unapologetically be who we want to be and we are given the following advice:
- “Brown girl, do not let them take away your passion. Because they will try, without any compassion, to keep you down. But remember that without passion you will extinguish, and so to be safe, make sure that you keep others nearby who can pick you up and light you up again.”
- Olga Dies Dreaming by Xochitl Gonzalez – Set against the backdrop of NYC in the months surrounding the most devastating hurricane in Puerto Rico’s history, this story examines political corruption, familial strife, and the very notion of the American dream. I really enjoyed this story, and it is a reminder of how even people with good intentions and the hope to be true to themselves can be corrupted.
- Once I was You by Maria Hinjosa – Emmy Award-winning journalist and anchor of NPR’s Latino USA tells the story of immigration in America through her family’s experiences and through decades of reporting. What I really enjoyed about this memoir is being reminded that history is told through the eyes of the victors. For example, with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, Mexico ceded over 525,000 square miles of territory to the United States including California, Nevada, Utah, New Mexico, most of Arizona and Colorado, and parts of Oklahoma, Kansa, and Wyoming. So people living in those territories were technically Mexican. They did not cross a border, instead, a border crossed them.
- Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya – This beloved coming-of-age novel tells the story of Tony, who under the wise wing of Ultima, a curandera (Spanish for healer), questions his faith and community. Many in the Latinx community have grown up in the Catholic Church, including me. This book questions what it means to have faith. I myself have wondered the same thing. And, while I don’t profess to know any of the answers, I do know that I have faith in the Latinx community and their power for good.
- Where are you from? by Yamile Saied Mendez – This children’s book answers a question that many people of color have been asked, “Where are you from?” When you have a different skin color or features that aren’t entirely European, you are looked to as an “other,” and as not belonging. This beautiful story reminds us that we all belong.
And lastly, I would also like to recommend the Libby App. This is a great app where you can find lots of old and new e-books and audiobooks for free. All you need is a library card to access it.
Thank you, Rosie, for all that you do for us!