Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month Every Day!
“It is important for all of us to appreciate where we come from and how that history has really shaped us in ways that we might not understand.” – Sonia Sotomayor
The long table is always filled with food from tortillas and chicken from the Ranch Market around the corner to share, to homemade sweet empanadas, chilis from a personal garden and other buffet style lunches in our cocina just like we would at home. We embrace and connect around the table in mixtures of Spanish, English and Spanglish. This is Raza Development Fund! We call ourselves a Familia, not simply to promote a connected work environment, but because connecting in this way is innate – it’s a part of our culture, our Hispanic heritage.
It’s the last week of Hispanic Heritage Month and as our friend at Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (AZHCC) likes to say, “We are not Elf on a Shelf only to be celebrated during Hispanic Heritage month.” (Monica Villalobos, President & CEO of AZHCC)
As I applaud that statement and reflect on the intent of this celebratory observance, I am grateful to work for RDF. Because at RDF, celebrating Hispanic heritage is a part of our every day.
Una Mezcla (mixture)
“There is so much diversity and uniqueness within the Latino culture as there is in any other kind of American culture.” – Benjamin Bratt, actor
I am personally proud of my own mixed-Latino heritage, Honduran, Puerto Rican and Mexican descent, so I always enjoy when we share the beautiful differences within our Latino communities. We embrace the variety and uniqueness that make up “Latino” because we are an example of that variety. RDF has members who were born in Mexico, Colombia, Nicaragua and Peru. Some of us grew up with immigrant parents or grandparents, like myself. While others like our Chief Operating Officer, Melissa McDonald, can trace her roots back to Los San Patricios, the heroic Irish immigrants who fought alongside Mexico. And, we have some Familia members who, although are not of Hispanic heritage, through years of conviviencia with the Latino community, embrace the culture wholeheartedly.
“To me, the Hispanic culture is the food. It’s coming together, opening your heart and arms to people,” says Ruby Marinez, RDF’s Executive Assistant – Office of the President. After her family moved from Nicaragua to Honduras, Ruby cherishes the memories of being embraced by her neighbors with food and enjoying both countries’ signature recipes.
Today, she enjoys breaking bread at the RDF table as well.
Our vibrant home is surrounded by Latino-inspired art. Visit our building any day to see our beautiful mural by Martin Moreno that showcases elements of our heritage from the desert landscape to la Virgen de Guadalupe. Walk to the front to see our sacred entry with its desert blooms.
Inside, you’ll find glimpses of our community in frames on the walls and in our accented décor. On occasion, a staff member will even bring special tokens to share from recent trips.
“The more you speak more languages, the more you understand about yourself.” – Sandra Cisneros
Connect with the RDF team any day and you’ll be surely met with a mixture of Spanish and English. Our varied background definitely created a varied knowledge of the Spanish language – and even of English. We switch back in forth in general conversations, as sometimes a word or phrase can only be best described in one language over the other.
RDF is proud to provide the best possible support to our Spanish-only speaking clients one-on-one and through translated marketing materials.
Service to the Community
“A hallmark of the Latino community is to help one another.” – Ellen Ochoa, 1st Latina to go space.
And of course, the most important way we celebrate our heritage is through the very work that we do. There’s something to be said for the way our Latino communities bond together in times of need. It’s woven into our DNA. We’ve shared the UnidosUS’ Count On Us AZ campaign which not only shares and celebrates the contributions of the Latino community but embedded in its messages are stories of Latinos lifting each other up.
Our RDF Familia is comprised of a group of talented professionals who are all innately drawn towards service. Together, we remain committed to providing capital to create better opportunities for the Latino communities. We do this by providing financial solutions to UnidosUS affiliate and other nonprofit organizations that support our communities in critical areas of need like affordable housing and healthcare.
It is our mission every day to ensure our work has the maximum impact for our families for future generations.
I hope you join us to continue to celebrate Hispanic heritage, our trailblazers and the impact of the Latino community – even after October 15th.