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The Transferable Skill Set of Being First-Gen Latino

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Growing up as a first or second gen Latino in this country leaves so many of us evaluating if we measure up to the high standards of the cultures we feel straddled between.

However, I want to remind you of how special and powerful you are.

Yesterday I read the awesome story of 10-year-old Maggie Carrilo Vazquez, who called a radio station so she could be the interpreter for her parents who had safety questions about Covid-19.

Maggie is a perfect example of a common childhood experience of an eñye.

When you’re young, this can feel overwhelming because you’re a child having adult conversations and it feels like if you make a mistake you could hurt your family – can anyone say #pressure?

But what I hope is that you see the beauty in this.

Rather than seeing yourself as “less than” because you grew up feeling like you didn’t fit in because you had this extra burden, consider that you were developing some serious transferable skills that you are likely using at work right now.

A lot of Latinos I know who grew up with this type of experience end up having tremendous empathy for others and many ends up becoming professional interpreters and advocates for our community as a profession. And there’s excellence to what they do that is particularly noteworthy for two reasons, it’s personal and they’ve had years of “on-the-job-training” securing apartments, translating medical information, and generally making sure their parents know what’s going on. 

The type of person that I consider an exceptional human being.

So the next time you feel stuck between two cultures remember that this act of interpreting or translating what the heck is going on makes you a literal bridge between two cultures and that is pretty incredible if you ask me.

I spoke about this in my first TEDx talk which you can watch here.

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