CHA Employees Reflect on Hispanic Heritage Month 2022

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John Brennan | Property Manager

“I am Irish-American. I think if you want to get to know a culture, you start with the food. My first introduction to Hispanic food was in the early 2000’s. A buddy of mine was having a family party. Here I was introduced to fried plantains and the Dominican version of beef stew. Needless to say, whenever they’ve had any kind of get together, I’ve invited myself. I enjoy the way my friend’s family’s food wasn’t just food. It was an experience.”

Alexandra Zuluaga | Relocation Coordinator

“I grew up in East Boston, or “Little Colombia,” watching recent immigrants adjust to a whole new life. My parents experienced discrimination and culture shock at every turn, to make sure my brothers and I could grow up with more opportunities. I take this time every year to appreciate their sacrifice and my entire community’s contributions to our neighborhood. I’m in awe of our resilience every day.”

Nayrovis Alicea | Assistant Housing Manager

“Hispanic Heritage means cultural consciousness. It means pride and legacy. Hispanics are legendary. The culture and heritage celebrated is one that is unique and valued in a magnitude of ways in other cultures. From the language, the food, and the environments. Hispanics are known to be strong and resilient in character, but furthermore, so WE PRESS ON. As a culture we find joy and love out of any situation. We seek justice and equality in all our endeavors. I am proud and happy to know I have the opportunity to speak two languages and to help others transition the skill of bilingualism into great successful careers. My heritage is all I’ve got, and this time is very empowering to the Hispanic Culture where we see fruits of all the hard work of our ancestors and families who spoke up and fought for what we believe is fair. We are still speaking up and battling, but there is always light at the end of the tunnel. I am proud to say I am a HISPANIC.”

Ayesha Wilson | Senior Teacher-Counselor

“Hispanic Heritage to me means; an opportunity to learn, experience, and appreciate the beauty of the people, food, music, and culture. Additionally, the greatness that Hispanic people have and continue to contribute to our country.”

Luis Vasquez | Senior Program Manager

“While each day I feel thankful to those who have paved the way to enjoy the life I have, slowing down to honor the impact our culture has had on society always is a nice reminder for me to continue bringing our voice to the table. I realize more than ever how important it is to continue aiming high so that the generations behind us can see someone who looks like them and surpass our successes.”

Jody Ramkissoon | Tenant Coordinator

“This period of recognition reiterates the importance of people being celebrated. A key indicator that a community is valued is by having a designated time to share and honor their own cultural traditions. I also think of having a great time, with beautiful people, tasty food, good music and lots of dancing!”

Christina Cepeda-Willie | Assistant Housing Manager

“To me, the meaning of Hispanic Heritage Month is about diversity in the Latin community. We get to celebrate our culture and also learn from all the different Hispanic countries. Coming from a Dominican background, I like to share my culture with my peers and show them our similarities in different ways.  It’s also a month to celebrate our progress and our achievements as a Hispanic-Americans. Hispanic Heritage Month is a celebration of our pride.”