Happy Hispanic Heritage Month! As we reflect on what the next few weeks of celebration mean to our community and us as community leaders, I think about the opportunities that lie ahead. Our community is changing, and the diversity that exists in our region is one to be embraced and celebrated. I moved to Virginia from Texas five years ago and I have seen the change and growth in the Hispanic/Latino community happen right before my eyes. Virginia’s population is 10.6% Hispanic/Latino, that’s one in 10 people in the Commonwealth. In Central Virginia, I have seen growth in Chesterfield, Henrico, Hanover County, and the city of Richmond.
As we experience this change in our communities, we need to recognize and invite voices from diverse communities into conversations. Most people think of Latinos in our communities as immigrants, but many have been in our community for generations. Additionally, when we think about nonprofits, we often have conversations about how they serve the Latino community without any representation from the community itself. When I suggest inviting diverse communities into the conversation, I suggest creating welcoming spaces for Latinos on our nonprofit boards. Latinos in our communities are business owners, professionals, teachers, neighbors, and strong community advocates. Their voices bring a wealth of knowledge to spaces where they are lacking. Latino voices can and do provide unique perspectives and greater connections to Latino communities.
A Call to Action
As we prepare for our Fall Board Connector event, it is important for us as community leaders and LMR (Leadership Metro Richmond) alumni to invite and encourage our colleagues and friends that are Hispanic/Latino to attend. Board Connector is a fantastic opportunity to learn about the incredible nonprofits in our region and the amazing work they accomplish every day. It is an opportunity to elevate their voice into an important conversation for all of us. The diversity in our region will only increase, and this is our opportunity to ensure that the voices at the table are similar to those in our community. Let’s welcome new voices and for those of us “that have the potential” to share our voice, let’s take a step forward.