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Hispanic Heritage Month: Celebrating the Hispanic-American Dream

Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month by learning about the inspirational story of award-winning journalist Maria Hinojosa.

Hispanic Heritage Month
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Hispanics come to the United States to realize the fabled American Dream. We celebrate their rich cultures, traditions and contributions during Hispanic Heritage Month.

The Hispanic population accounted for nearly half of the population growth in the United States from 2010-2021. Our numbers reached 62.5 million in 2021, up 19% from 2010. Today, nearly one in five people in the United States is Hispanic.

These statistics from Pew Research show that Latinos are a sizable and growing community in America. As a Latino immigrant to the United States, I can attest that many Hispanics still come to this country to realize the fabled American Dream. In that pursuit, they also bring rich cultures, traditions and contributions, which we celebrate during Hispanic Heritage Month, Sept. 15-Oct. 15 every year.

My company, Granite Telecommunications, is marking Hispanic Heritage Month by highlighting the inspirational story of one powerful Latina who has made it in America. Granite’s Community Awareness, Networking, Diversity & Informational Development (CANDID) group invited award-winning journalist Maria Hinojosa as a guest speaker for a companywide virtual event on Oct. 7.

Maria Hinojosa’s American Dream

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Maria Hinojosa

Maria’s story begins, like many of ours, as an immigrant. Maria came to America from Mexico and tells the story of growing up in Chicago as the daughter of an immigrant doctor who brought her to this country as a baby. She became one of the first Latina reporters in many U.S. newsrooms. She dreamed of creating independent, multimedia journalism covering the diverse American experience. To realize her dream, in 2010 she formed the Futuro Media Group, an independent, nonprofit organization based in Harlem.

Maria’s nearly 30-year career includes reporting for PBS, CBS, WNBC, CNN and NPR, as well as anchoring the Emmy Award-winning talk show from WGBH, “Maria Hinojosa: One-on-One.” She is the author of three books and has won dozens of awards, including four Emmys. She was honored with her own day in October by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, and has been recognized by People En Español as one of the 25 most powerful Latina women. Most recently, Maria has been awarded a Pulitzer award for her work with the podcast “Suave” produced by Futuro Media Group.

Why Tell Maria’s Story?

I was fortunate to meet Maria many years ago when I worked for a then-startup Boston Hispanic Media company, El Planeta Media. She gave us a tour of her production company, and I stayed in contact with her over the years. Since then, Maria has become one of the most influential Latinos in the country. Her story is not only about her journey but how she’s paving the way for others.

In her 2020 memoir, “Once I Was You,” Maria shares her experience growing up as a Mexican American on the South Side of Chicago. She also tells the story of immigration in America through her family’s experiences and decades of reporting. In 2022, she retells the story for young readers in a new version of the book so that they can see the possibilities for their futures.

The takeaways from the original book for me, other Latinos, or anyone willing to read or listen are:

  • Education is a great equalizer towards the path to success.

  • Hard work always pays off.

  • Believing in ourselves is catalyst for our dreams.

  • Dreaming big brings greater victories.

  • Having a trusted network of people to lean on is key.

In short, Maria’s story is about the American Dream, no matter who you are. It’s not just about being Hispanic. Maria belongs to many groups:

  • Immigrant

  • Woman

  • Mother

  • Hispanic

  • Journalist/Author

  • Businesswoman

  • Business owner

  • Wife

  • Visionary

All groups are trying to identify qualities that will make them successful. At Granite CANDID, we talk about two in particular – mental endurance and emotional intelligence. Maria exhibits both:

  • Mental endurance – Maria is disciplined in approaching her career, getting up early for recording, finding ways to add value to her stories with different angles that were not being covered by anyone else, thinking out of the box and exploring different points of view.

  • Emotional Intelligence – Maria candidly shared the struggles in her marriage, her awareness of her emotions and feelings, and the need to seek professional advice despite the stigma of psychiatry in the Hispanic culture.

As a Mexican American, I feel a kinship with Maria though our journeys are quite different. I am grateful for the trails she’s blazed and the legacy she’s leaving for other Hispanics to follow – hopefully, with fewer bumps along the way.

Medina-Raul_Granite-150x150.jpgRaul Medina is National Relationship Development Manager at Granite Telecommunications and co-Chair of the Granite CANDID Network. CANDID stands for Corporate Advancement Networking Diversity Inclusion and Development. The overall mission of CANDID is to create a culture of positivity and acceptance within the Granite workplace so that all teammates feel welcome and enjoy their work environment. Medina also leads Granite Rock OUT, Granite’s first LGBTQA+ Employee Resources Network. For more information, visit Granite at www.granitenet.com

This guest blog is part of a Channel Futures sponsorship.

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