Quienes Somos: Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month with the V Team.

By: Verizon Careers

This Hispanic Heritage Month, we are excited to celebrate our V Teamers with a lineup of events.

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September 15 marked the beginning of Hispanic Heritage Month. This annual celebration, which runs from September 15 - October 15, highlights the rich history, cultures, and contributions of Americans who have descended from Spain, South and Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean.

If you’re wondering why Hispanic Heritage Month runs from mid-September through mid-October, here’s a quick history lesson. September 15 marks the anniversary of independence for quite a few Latin American countries, including Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Additionally, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence on September 16 and September 18, respectively.  

What’s in a name?

In the 1980s, the U.S. Census Bureau counted an influx of Latin American immigrants using the term Hispanic, based on their linguistic heritage. However, the word Hispanic slighted Portuguese-speaking Brazilians, whereas it could include Spaniards. In 2000, the term “Latino” appeared on the Census, and it has since reached widespread use for those from communities south of the U.S.

As with many terms referring to different ethnicities and cultures, standard terminology continues to evolve. You’ve likely heard the term Latinx in place of Hispanic in the last several years. Latinx has gained in popularity because it is gender-neutral and today, this non-binary alternative is becoming more of the standard.

Quienes Somos – Who we are.

For 2020, our theme is Quienes Somos – Who we are. We welcome all V Teamers to participate by learning, engaging, asking questions, and having fun. We are fortunate to work alongside nearly 13,500 Hispanic V Teamers, and during this month-long celebration, these V Teamers are excited to share their experiences with the rest of Verizon.

SOMOS Verizon is a 3,400 V Teamer-strong employee resource group (ERG) where members can participate in a variety of cultural and community engagement experiences throughout the year. This group is the voice of the Latinx community at Verizon, as well as the force behind some of our events this Hispanic Heritage Month. 

¿Estás listo para aprender quiénes somos?

Throughout the month, we have a lineup of programs, events, videos and stories to help us learn more about the contributions of the Hispanic community and celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month.

A big day. A big month: Hispanic Heritage Month Kick-off.

SOMOS Verizon Executive Sponsor, Ronan Dunne, kicked off Hispanic Heritage Month with a couple of very special guests, including SOMOS co-lead Marissa M.

During the kick-off, Marissa discussed the importance of the ERG’s new name, which was recently updated to express a more united and global group. In addition to re-naming the ERG, SOMOS members have also taken steps to move toward more inclusive language that recognizes all of the Latinx community, including the Americas, El Caribe, and Indigenous communities. 

“We use the ‘X’ in Latinx to represent us because we recognize that in order to be more inclusive, we need to use a term that is gender-neutral and can include communities that were historically marginalized,” Marissa said. “Anything we can do to be more inclusive creates a space for all of us to be seen and heard.”

SOMOS means ‘we are’ in both Spanish and Portuguese, and is gender-neutral. Our mission is to be the voice of the Latinx community globally.

SOMOS co-lead Marissa M.

Count Us In: The Census, The Election and the Latinx Community

Hosted by V Teamer Diana A., this lively panel discussion focused on the importance of participating in the census and 2020 election. 

As the census deadline quickly approaches, this panel of Latinx thought leaders and newsmakers discussed the importance to the Latinx community of completing the census questionnaire and making their voices heard in the upcoming U.S. presidential election. Watch the replay here.

Mi Historia 

Throughout the month, we’ll be highlighting the professional and personal growth stories of SOMOS members sharing their achievements in the 4 Cs: Culture, Career, Community, and Customers. In the first video in our Mi Historia series, V Teamer Maria Martinez Herrera shared her story of coming to the U.S. from Mexico at six-years-old because her mother wanted to “give her the world.” Watch Maria's story here

Learn more about diversity and inclusion initiatives at Verizon.

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