For the Latinx community, resilience often goes back to their roots.
“Being ‘rooted in resilience’ is incredibly personal to our community. It means drawing on our cultural experiences and using what we’ve learned from the sacrifices of our families and friends to succeed in anything we do,” says Suzette C., Global Process Analyst at the Facebook company.
Inspired by events from the past year, the message of “rooted in resilience” was the theme for the 2020 Latin@ Community Summit at Facebook, which Suzette and a group of Latin@ leaders organized as a way to celebrate and empower the Latinx community. Read on to learn more about what the summit means to them and how they carry their roots of resilience into the work they do every day.
Empowering Latinx team members with tools and resources for success
Melissa helped the Latin@ Community Summit pivot from in-person to virtual.
“As an events producer at Facebook, I lead the planning of various of our internal community summits, including the Black@, Women@, and Latin@ community summits. The Latin@ event is the one I look forward to the most because it resonates with me on the deepest level. Born and raised in Puerto Rico, I’m very proud of where I come from. After moving to the U.S., I started to identify with the broader Latinx community. It’s important for us to come together and unify as one community, and that’s why I’m so proud to be part of the summit.
When it came to programming for the latest event, it was important to us to ensure people would leave with the best tools and resources to continue growing their careers. We also wanted to empower everyone to bring their authentic selves to work. The biggest challenge for this year’s event was making it engaging while being completely virtual, and it was incredible to see how people showed up. Adam Mosseri, Head of Instagram and the executive sponsor of the Latin@ community, opened the event to welcome the community. Maluma headlined the event, and he donated his speaker fee to his non-profit, El Arte de los Sueños, which was really meaningful. Each time I hear someone say they were inspired by the event or they were empowered to try something new, I feel incredibly energized and proud of the work we do.” —Melissa C., D&I Events Program Manager
Giving the Latinx community at Facebook a voice
Javier stands in front of art by Sophie Roach through Facebook Open Arts.
“Facebook’s Latin@ Community Summit is a reminder that despite what’s happening in the world, our community is not forgotten. This is especially important right now. Everyone has been affected by the coronavirus pandemic, but the Latinx and Black communities have been heavily impacted. The summit was a time for us to get together, learn from one another, and celebrate our culture. One of the biggest highlights for me was the joint networking session with the Black@ community. We had the opportunity to hear directly from our Black teammates about their experiences over the last several months. It’s important to be allies, and this was an incredible moment.
Growing up Cuban American, my family members came from various walks of life. I learned to have empathy for people with unique life experiences, and I saw that setbacks can be opportunities to move forward. At Facebook, these values guide my work. Whether it’s empathizing with the business owners I work with as part of the Business Equality team, or bringing the Latin@ Community Summit to life virtually, I live by the idea that when things aren’t great, we learn from them, and when they are, we appreciate them.” —Javier C., Event Marketing Manager
Speaking up to create a more inclusive future
Juan says he has spent much of his life moving between different languages, cultures, and social classes.
“Things I learned from my upbringing—like what it means to be resilient and have a strong work ethic—have become important factors to my success. I call them my superpowers. There are also things I didn’t have. I’m a first-generation Latino college graduate working in tech, and I don’t have the same network as many of my peers, so I’ve had to lean into my superpowers. I’ve spent my life moving between languages, cultures, and social classes. I transitioned from a low-income, Black community in the Dominican Republic to an all-boys Jesuit high school as part of the upper middle class in America. Today, this experience gives me the ability to understand the diverse communities we serve at Facebook and articulate them in a way that our leaders understand.
I feel empowered to bring my background and culture as a Latino and a member of the Black community to work. We’re moving toward a future where minority communities will make up the majority of our population. If I don't bring my perspective to work, we can’t build for the future of our country. This is one of the many reasons I was proud to be part of the Latin@ Community Summit. Facebook provides a space for us to encourage one another to share our experiences. It’s a time to take a step back, talk about the issues we’re facing, and celebrate our future.” —Juan D., Strategic Partner Manager, Sports
Creating space for people to connect on shared experiences
Suzette, who typically works behind the scenes, did something different for the Latin@ Community Summit in 2020.
“This was my first year helping plan the Latin@ Community Summit. I’ve been involved in the Austin chapter for the past two years, but I wanted to challenge myself to be a part of something bigger. I was also a host, which was new for me. I typically work behind the scenes, but I decided to step outside of my comfort zone and take on something different. What makes this event so special is the vibe. It’s one of the only events where I can walk in and know that people will instantly understand where I’m coming from and what I’m talking about. As an introvert, I’m always amazed by how this event brings out the extrovert in me. I can be fully authentic without thinking twice, and I always leave wanting to do more. It’s truly a special feeling.
I was born and raised in Puerto Rico, and moved to the U.S. for college. My family still lives in Puerto Rico, and we have a very tight-knit community. I’ll never forget when Hurricane Maria hit the island. My family was fine, but I couldn’t get in touch with them for two weeks. I remember my dad ran into someone in town and he gave them my number. I got a call from the man I didn’t know who told me he spoke with my dad and he was fine. This experience showcases the strong bonds in our community. I hope people left the summit feeling energized by those bonds and reminded of our collective resilience to take on anything in front of us.” —Suzette C., Global Process Analyst, Source To Pay, Finance
Our mission at Facebook is to bring the world closer together. One way we do this is by supporting employee-run groups that give team members the opportunity to connect with and learn from others in our communities. The 2021 Latin@ Community Summit takes place virtually July 2021.
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