Esperanza: A Celebration of Hispanic Heritage and Hope featuring Isaiah Torres, Litigation Associate
Wiss employees Eddy Alay, Omar Francisco Pérez, Jonathan Suarez and Isaiah Torres share their stories in light of Hispanic Heritage Month, a period that formally celebrates the immeasurable contributions of Hispanic and Latinx Americans to US economy, culture and society.
The theme of this year’s Hispanic History month is Esperanza (Hope). What are you most hopeful of in terms of Hispanic and Latinx representation in the workforce, today and in the future?
Isaiah Torres: A recognition of Latino/Latina/Hispanic representation and contributions in the workforce, all industries included, on a consistent basis.
According to the US Census Bureau, the Hispanic or Latino population grew from 16.3% (50.5 million) to 18.7% (62.1 million) of the U.S. population. More than half (51.1%) of the U.S. population growth in the U.S. between 2010 and 2020 is a result of an increase in the Hispanic or Latino community. By 2060, the U.S. Census Bureau forecasts the Hispanic or Latino Population to increase to 28% of the U.S. population, or approximately 111.2 million people.
This is a great time for industries to reflect on the actual Hispanic/Latinx representation they have within their staff and to understand whether they feel supported, heard, and are provided with fair opportunities to grow in the workforce. We are growing as a community and will be more present than ever!”
How has your Hispanic or Latinx heritage shaped who you are as a person?
Isaiah: I am a first-generation Mexican American. I grew up in a household where Spanish was primarily spoken and was raised based on my parents’ own Mexican traditions while learning to live in an American society. My parents spoke very little English. As a result, rejection, and confusion were reoccurring themes they faced when dealing with regular institutions of life. Too often would I see opportunities lost because of a language barrier. Having witnessed these challenges, I consistently aim to understand and help others regardless of their culture or background, so that no opportunity would be lost because of a language barrier.
Is there something about the Hispanic or Latinx community that isn’t appreciated enough or known about?
Isaiah: The Hispanic/Latinx community is not one large homogenous group. There are various cultures and groups that exist within the community – each with their own set of ideas that makes them a part of this community. We all have different upbringings and, in that respect, not every Hispanic/Latinx can speak or write in Spanish. We come in different shapes, sizes, and colors. We all have our own cultures and experiences that define us as Latino/Latina/Hispanic.
A dish everyone must try?
Isaiah: Pozole and tostadas. Pozole is a Mexican soup with hominy (corn grits), usually with toppings such as chicken, cilantro, chile, lime, and radishes. Tostadas are a toasted tortilla topped with a frijole spread, lettuce, avocado, chicken, cream and cheese.