Amplifying the Impact and Voices of the LatinX Community
By Melissa Avalos and Andrea Reyes
Celebrating LatinX Culture
Recent events in our nation have sparked conversations of race, ethnicity, and culture. As a result, these events have illuminated needs in the workplace, including diversity and inclusion stances as well as a pronounced recognition of the different experiences of underrepresented groups. In turn, many organizations have felt a call to action to better understand their employees and better define their cultural norms to reflect their values.
One way organizations are getting started is by celebrating the lived experiences of diverse groups and historical events that are meaningful to them. Hispanic Heritage Month, for instance, was first introduced by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1968 as National Hispanic Heritage Week. Since then, Congress expanded it from a week to a month, making September 15 to October 15 Hispanic Heritage Month. The essence of the month is to celebrate the LatinX community’s contributions to American culture and society. (SHRM.org)
LatinX by the Numbers
LatinX is the fastest-growing minority group in the United States, accounting for half of the US population growth since the year 2000. Additionally, Hispanics will account for one out of every two new workers entering the workforce by 2025, and 66,0000 are turning 18 every month. Although they are the largest and fastest-growing minority in the United States, Hispanics are still one of the most underrepresented groups in the overall US labor market, making up about 17.5% of the workforce. (BOLS)
Given this understanding of the LatinX representation across industries, it’s vital to recognize and celebrate members who have demonstrated exceptional leadership, determination, and their contributions.
Notable Members of the LatinX Community
The LatinX community has come a long way in the United States, and today, during Hispanic Heritage Month, we celebrate the remarkable contributions of many influential LatinX leaders and the impact they had on generations of Hispanics across the country. A few inspiring LatinX individuals of our time include:
Ellen Ochoa – first Latina to go into space, first Hispanic director of a NASA Center, and second female director of the Johnson Space Center.
Sonia Sotomayor – first Latina to hold a Supreme Court Justice position in US. history
Raffi Freedman-Gurspan – first openly LatinX transgender person to work as a White House staffer and legislative staffer to work in the Massachusetts House of Representatives.
Lin-Manuel Miranda – composer, lyricist, actor, writer, and activist. Tony Award winner for Best Musical (Hamilton) and winner of a MacArthur Genius grant in 2015.
Generational Shifts for LatinX Women
Historically, LatinX women have worked less and earned fewer degrees than white and black women. However, recent trends demonstrate upward shifts in career advancement for Hispanic women in the workforce. By 2024, LatinX women’s participation in the workforce is projected to increase to almost 14 million, or 8.5% of the total labor workforce (DOL). In addition to advancing in the general workforce, there is also a clearly increasing trend in managerial and professional occupations for Hispanic women. Based on a St. Louis Fed study, LatinX women managers only accounted for 2.27% of the workforce in 1960; that number has almost quadrupled in 2016 to 9.44%, which has contributed to closing the gap relative to their male counterparts (St. Louis Fed).
Looking Ahead: Amplifying LatinX Voices
Celebrations of the LatinX community don’t have to stop with Hispanic Heritage Month. Below are a few ways that you can begin to amplify the voices of your LatinX peers, friends, and family:
- Show curiosity for the LatinX customer experience – to better serve your organization’s mission to its stakeholders.
- Consider ways to enhance the LatinX employee experience – to promote inclusive teams and a diverse cultural experience within your own workplace.
- Seek to understand the stories of immigrants from Latin American countries to gain a shared perspective of their experiences.
- Utilize resources available to the public – In 2018, OPM released it’s 9th Annual Report to the President Hispanic Employment in the Federal Government, announcing their continued commitment to working across the government to recruit, hire, retain, and advance Hispanics in the Federal workplace.
- Start conversations with your LatinX friends, family, acquaintances about LatinX culture.
- Support local LatinX owned businesses – When craving Latin food, go to a locally-owned restaurant as opposed to a chain restaurant.
- Learn Spanish! – Expand your linguistics to build connections with those in the Hispanic community.