Every year, from September 15th to October 15th, the United States comes alive with vibrant colors, flavors, and rhythms as we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month. This annual observance is a time to honor and pay tribute to the rich history and traditions of Hispanic and Latine cultures that have shaped America. ReEmployAbility recognizes the contributions, resilience, and diversity of our own Hispanic team members. We appreciate all they have done for our Spanish-speaking injured workers and partners across our network.
We invite you to join us in exploring the significance of Hispanic Heritage Month, delving into the stories of our remarkable team members, their communities, and the enduring traditions that they are encouraged to embrace here at ReEmployAbility. This month-long celebration is not only an opportunity to revel in the beauty of Hispanic culture. It is also a time to reflect on the importance of diversity and inclusion in our society, especially in the workplace.
Celebrating Hispanic Cultures at ReEmployAbility
Community Care Associate Karin Acevedo, and Community & Public Relations Specialist Joanna Jewell, share their stories about what it means to represent their Chilean culture and how they impact the Spanish-speaking injured workers who participate in ReEmployAbility’s Transition2Work program.
Hispanic Heritage Month: Representation Matters
As a native Chilean, Karin has experienced “a mix of joy and challenge” in the Hispanic community.
During Hispanic Heritage Month, she describes experiencing “the warmth, the support, and the diversity” of her community. She states that this month has given her the opportunity to “interact with people from different countries and regions, each with their own history, language, culture, and identity.” She continues by saying, “I have also learned about the diversity and richness of the Hispanic world and the contributions that Hispanic people have made to various fields such as science, technology, arts, literature… and social justice.”
Joanna enjoys her family’s Chilean traditions and celebrations this month. On September 18th, the Chilean Independence Day, Joanna says, “My family celebrates by going to my parent’s house for empanadas, Chilean Wine, and celebration. We usually watch TVChile to see the military parade and spend time together.” Karin also participated in the Fiesta Patrias on the 18th and 19th to commemorate the independence of Chile and “the glories of the army.” Like many other Hispanic cultures, these holidays are filled with food, music, and cultural pride.
Connecting with the Hispanic Injured Workers During Their Transition2Work Experience
Joanna and Karin were both asked how it feels to connect with Transition2Work’s Spanish-speaking injured participants and the difference they believe this representation makes during their experience in the program.
Joanna said, “When I was working as CCT (Community Care Team) I had the privilege of assisting our Hispanic Injured Workers. It was so meaningful to me because I was able to help them with questions and concerns in their native language and was able to support them through any difficulties.” She continues by saying, “When I began at ReEmployAbility, there were only two bilingual associates who were able to call Spanish-speaking individuals. Because of this, I was able to make a big difference by giving people information and clarity when they were in the Transition2Work program. I feel that having that connection made them feel more at peace with their light-duty assignments while they were recovering.”
Karin describes connecting with Spanish-speaking injured workers as a way to show respect and appreciation for their culture and identity and a way to enhance the quality and accuracy of the service provided. It can also increase the satisfaction and loyalty of ReEmployAbility’s clients and their injured workers. She says, “When I assist users with their queries, requests, or needs, I feel a sense of purpose and accomplishment. I strive to provide positive, polite, and empathetic responses while offering factual and objective information from reliable sources. My goal is to make the user’s day a little better and brighter by doing my job well.” A great representation of ReEmployAbility’s Core Values that our company strives for every day, across all departments.
Community Care Associates Sarai Quirino, Lucy Silva, Janice Quertz, and Transition2Work Placement Specialist Krista Garcia, proudly represent their Mexican heritage this Hispanic Heritage Month. They shared with ReEmployAbility meaningful traditions and information about Mexican culture.
The Traditions of Mexico’s Independence Day
Many people in America may confuse the widely celebrated holiday, Cinco de Mayo, with the day Mexico became independent. The holiday represents a day to celebrate Mexico’s victory over the Second French Empire at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. The country’s actual day of independence falls on September 16th. Janice explains “It is the Mexican traditions that best represent national pride, and the most important holiday in September.” The holiday officially begins at midnight on September 16th, with El Grito de Dolores. However, for much of the day of September 15th, there will be cultural celebrations. Dancing, music, and food surround the Zocalo of cities throughout Mexico.
Community Care Associate Dulce Perez-Ramos shares the story of the Mirabal Sisters, Patria, Minerva, and Maria Teresa. She delves into how the three heroines overcame adversity and became popular symbols of feminist resistance in the Dominican Republic.
The Mirabal Sisters’ Influence on Dominican Culture
The Mirabal Sisters bravely opposed the rule of dictator Rafael Leonidas Trujillo and, alongside their spouses, established an organization known as the “Movement of June 14th.” Frequently employing code names like “Las Mariposa” or “The Butterflies,” the revolutionaries gathered to strategize the downfall of the dictator. They would disseminate leaflets exposing Trujillo’s unjust acts of violence. The sisters endured months of confinement until mounting international criticism compelled Trujillo to release most of the imprisoned women.
Dulce finds inspiration in their story. The women’s influence even stretches beyond the Dominican Republic but has impacted women abroad. Every year on November 25th, people around the world celebrate the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, designated by the United Nations, in honor of the Mirabal Sisters.
A Month-Long Celebration
We appreciate the stories and traditions shared by our team members from some of the Hispanic countries represented here at ReEmployAbility. Hispanic Heritage Month shows all who celebrate the importance of embracing the differences between each country. This is so that people can learn to appreciate the traditions of others. As the month-long celebrations come to an end, join us in appreciating the past, present, and future of a community that continues to shape the American story. iVamos! (Let’s go!)