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Mexican Dolls
Photo by: JLRSOUSA
Happy Hispanic Heritage Month!
September 30, 2021

We’re halfway through Hispanic Heritage Month and I hope you’ve had a chance to reflect, learn, or celebrate. One way I keep my Mexican American culture alive is by speaking Spanish. It has never been the primary language of my home. Instead it was peppered into our daily lives and used whenever we spent time with my grandparents. I have learned most of my Spanish in school, listening to Selena, and still now while reading with my son. I love that when I read certain Spanish words, like mija, I hear them in my Dad’s voice. I invite all Latinos to celebrate the power of your voice this month, be it Spanish or English. 

Historically our voices, the voices of Hispanic communities, have been excluded, denied, and left unheard by the mainstream environmental groups but we must remember the environment belongs to everyone. The terms “Latino” and “Hispanic” cover a broad range of individuals, cultures, and experiences each with their own reasons for being concerned about climate change. Welcoming and listening to these people is crucial to the success of the climate movement. 

My dad is a great example of someone who isn’t directly involved with the environmental movement but has a passion for the outdoors. As a kid he dreamed of being a park ranger and totally gives off a Smokey the Bear vibe. On the weekends you can usually find him out on the cold sandy beaches of the Pacific Northwest with the breeze in his hair. He also follows the news closely and I have noticed the stories he sends me have been shifting from general news to updates about the ice sheets of Greenland or wildfires and smoke. He is like many people who are paying attention and ready to do more. In fact, according to a report from the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, “Latinos are more convinced global warming is happening and human-caused, more worried about it, perceive greater risks, are more supportive of climate change policies, and are more willing to get involved politically.” 

I know working on climate change can feel daunting for me, sometimes it feels like too much for me or any one person to make a difference. Remembering the power within my family and community gives me hope. From my sister teaching high schoolers in El Paso about climate change, to my dad starting climate conversations, I feel that we can and must keep speaking up. This Hispanic Heritage Month, let’s listen to the Latino voices in our communities and embrace their ongoing leadership, contributions and innovations.

 

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Author Bio

Jacqui Trillo

Database and Engagement Associate, Climate Solutions

Jacqui works to increase data integrity within Climate Solutions’ CRM database and engagement systems. She also enjoys finding creative ways for staff to use these systems to better understand the needs of activists and donors.

Prior to joining Climate Solutions, Jacqui worked for AmeriCorps as a volunteer coordinator and in the offices of two federal congressmen. Her environmental actions really took off back in 2008 when she joined Sustainable Burien and became president of the Environmental Club at Highline Community College.  Since then she has volunteered with various groups such as Got Green, CCL, and the Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy. Her passion for this work is rooted in environmental justice, working with frontline communities, and recognizing the strength that comes from diversity in the environmental movement.

In 2012 she graduated from Warren Wilson College with a Bachelor's Degree in Environmental Studies and a concentration in Environmental Policy. In her free time Jacqui likes to travel, sew, and explore Magnuson Park with her corgi.