By Nicole Goldstein, Project Coordinator, Jovanny Rosado, Account Executive, and Jayda Leder-Luis, Vice President
Every Spanish kitchen we know is well stocked in onions and garlic. The flavors are the start to almost any meal, sweet cebolla and fragrant ajo. But just adding these two ingredients to your meals won’t make it a Latin-style dish. The secret sauce is the cultural connection, the nostalgia that has transcended for generations, and the fact that they come from the ground – a reminder that roots are worth digging for.
As we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, now more than ever, we are helping our clients understand the importance of multi-lingual communications. With Latino populations fueling growth in Massachusetts and diversifying communities across the U.S., engaging and making Hispanic communities a part of the conversation should be part of every organization’s communications plan. And as PR professionals, we’re making sure clients don’t fall into the faulty practice of translating for the mere purpose of translation, but that their message resonates culturally, is relevant, and reflects stakeholders’ priorities – including that of the target audience. Denterlein’s clients do meaningful work across the region, and it’s our jobs as storytellers to make sure they reach those who will feel their impact.
We asked our Hispanic team members what this month means to them and their work with each organization in their clients list:
Jovanny Rosado, Account Executive
Born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico
First things first – Hispanic Heritage Month is not Latino Heritage Month. This month celebrates the culture and history of a community whose stories have been under-told for too long. For me, it’s a reminder of where I come from when too much time away from the homeland (Puerto Rico) makes code-switching a hard skill to master.
As a storyteller, or what my family would refer to as a “chismoso” (someone who loves telling stories and hot gossip), there’s a strong sense of pride that comes from the opportunity to help include everyone in the conversation and break down language barriers in the process.
Jayda Leder-Luis, Vice President
Born and raised in Yonkers, NY
Hispanic Heritage Month to me means celebrating and questioning the complexities of my Cuban culture. If DNA tells a story mine is a historical map of triangular trade and diaspora. My lineage of Ciboney and Central American natives were colonized by my Spanish ancestors. My great-great-grandmother bore the deep dark skin of her Senegalese people, stolen from Africa and brought to the Caribbean. My father only left the island because of Castro’s dictatorship. Oh, what it has taken for me to be here.
I’m reading a book with the writings of Jose Marti, renowned national poet who died fighting in the 1890s revolution against Spain. Romanticized tales of that fight for independence sing in dissonance with the current revolt against the communist regime. The people of Cuba deserve freedom, finally. #patriayvida #soscuba
Nicole Goldstein, Project Coordinator
Born and raised in South Florida by Colombian and Venezuelan parents
Growing up so close to Miami provided me with a vibrant mix of cultures to absorb and it seemed like every month was Hispanic Heritage Month. Although my family teases me by calling me a “gringa” because I was born state-side, my Latina roots are always shining through in every part of my life.
For me, this month is all about bringing my mix of Colombian-Venezuelan culture up to Boston while my big, loud family has delicious parrilladas without me back home. My apartment will be full of arroz con pollo, arepas, and the sounds of Carlos Vives, Fonseca, and a little bit of Marc Anthony to mix it up. You can take the girl out of Miami...
Glass jar of Puerto Rican style Sofrito (Justin/Adobe Stock)
For Hispanics, a meal without sofrito (the combination of onions, garlic, and other aromatics/spices) is tasteless. This mixture of vegetables is both unifying and distinguishing – there’s no single way to make sofrito, it varies by culture. Try asking a Puerto Rican, a Colombian, and a Cuban for their sofrito recipe and you will get different answers, but two ingredients won’t be missing: onions and garlic.
The same applies to Hispanic communications. There’s Spanish language and then there are the cultural variables that shape it. That’s why it’s important to work with communications professionals who speak Spanish and understand how cultural differences impact message resonance for a flavorful, successful communications campaign. And that’s our secret sauce.
¡Feliz Mes de la Herencia Hispana!
*Photographs of Denterlein colleagues by Merina Zeller