Hispanic Heritage Month takes place September 15 to October 15 every year as a time to recognize and celebrate the many contributions, diverse cultures, and extensive histories of the American Latino community.
Observing Hispanic Heritage Month allows our country to show its recognition and support for the work Latinos are doing in helping this country grow.
In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, we spoke with ICM’s Director of Client Services, Leiza Whitecotton, to find out what Hispanic Heritage Month means to her.
What is your role at Interfaith Caring Ministries?
I am the Director of Client Services at ICM. I oversee staff and volunteers and coorinate ICM’s assistance to community members in need (via our Emergency Rent & Utilty Assistance program and ICM’s Senior Outreach program).
What is your heritage? Can you tell us about your family?
I am Mexican. I am from Mexico City, one of the largest cities in the world.
My Dad passed away in 2021, he was an Obstetric Surgeon. My Mom loves history, she is an amateur anthropologist. (She knows everything about the ancient cultures in Mexico and in other countries!) I have a brother who is a Lawyer and a sister who is a Psychologist.
Do you think it is important to have Hispanic representation in the nonprofit and social services sector? Is diversity in leadership roles important to you?
It is important to have diversity in leadership. Diversity can open your perspective and your perception of the world. Diversity, to me, is not just a race or a type of disability, diversity is different perspectives for ways to solve problems as a consequence of your life experiences.
What is ICM able to do to be equitable and help the local Hispanic community?
I am a native Spanish speaker and I think is awesome have the ability to help and provide resources availible for Hispanic people and communicate with them in their own language. It is also important for us to be able to understand immigrants’ situation as well as their culture.
What is your favorite part of working at ICM?
People need to help each other, and people need to be listened to, too. When ICM helps a person, they give us back even more back by filling our hearts.