It’s 3 in the morning and here I am in front of my step father on a ventilator (again). Everything is super quiet with the exception of the sounds coming from the many machines the poor guy is hooked to. Believer or not, these beeps have become “normal” to all of us. The patients are sedated, the health care providers are in their normal routine, the family members after the initial chock of having a loved one in the intensive care unit also have gone back to their lives. Like this old lady told me “Mi hija, la vida sigue” (life goes on). You can tell already that I’m in total reflective mode right now. Having to write my Sunday message to our LATISM familia while my mind is dancing to the music of these live supporting machines. Oh boy! Are you ready?
Many things happened last week. The highlight being all the amazing messages you all wrote in support of my call for Latinos Unidos. Real LIDERES of organizations and businesses also said Presente to this call and we are in the process of making concrete steps to show collaboration and to identify/foster partnership opportunities. THANK YOU! I had no doubt that this would happen. I hope this country is ready for what is about to come. But a bunch of Latinos are getting Unidos at all levels and the sky is our limit. You Better Watch Out!
Another highlight was an invitation I received from President Obama and Mrs. Obama to the White House (Wepa!) in the occasion of the Cinco de Mayo Celebration. What an honor! now we can really say that LATISM is in the HOUSE. This only means that each one of you will be represented there. So hurry to give your 2 centavos (2 cents) by voicing your opinion at our survey (if you haven’t), on this comment threat and your respective blogs. At the end of the day, we are Latinos in Social Media which means that we have discovered the uniqueness of our VOICES and have made the conscious decision to amplify that voice through a blog, a micro-blog, a vlog, a social network and through any other digital tool out there. You and I are influencers and you and I have been invited to bring our respective communities to the White House. To Engage, To Listen, To Speak Up, To Influence, To say Presente.
These two amazing highlights in such a short time make me feel Overwhelmed. I’ve been getting flashbacks since I had the very same feeling back when I started LATISM out of a puro relajo (a pure joke) to soon understand that THIS IS BIGGER THAN SINGLE ME OR SINGLE YOU. THIS IS US! –
Many of you know the story: It all stared with a tweet! I was developing a series of iPhone apps for a client. The English versions had been a total success (with 19K downloads a week) and in front of the failure of the Spanish version (with less than 100 downloads a week) I was told that there were no Latinos in Social Media. By then I was already pretty active on Twitter with my business so I just asked: “Are there any Latinos in Social Media? I’m looking for Latino(a)s who blog, tweet, vlog & more” – Suddenly I received over 300 replies to that tweet. One was more inspiring than the other.
Do you remember those times?! In front of the evident phenomenon I created the Facebook Group, the LinkedIn group, the Twitter, Flickr, Youtube accounts and the blog. The hashtag glued us all together and slowly an amazing and vibrant community was formed. I had already funded the first Twitter Parties with Amy Lupold (the creator of the Twitter parties)- aka @ResourcefulMom so it was easy for me to find sponsors for our Thursday Parties. I really thought it was just going to be a weekly party. Little did I know that our community would ask for way more! There was an intrinsic need to discuss Latino issues, to solve real problems, to help out, to support each other. The rest isn’t history, the rest is our present since you are living it with me RIGHT NOW.
None of this would have happened without the many volunteers who have committed time, money, tears, energy, patience and more to LATISM. We could have never come to this point without the members of our board, without the LATISM Directors, without many of you who probably never had an official title but have been there day and night supporting us en las buenas y en las malas (in the good and the bad) for the sake of the ideal that we are trying to fulfill. What’s amazing is the fact that this is just the beginning. We are together in a journey of ongoing discoveries. Each member brings a granito de arena (a grain of salt) that helps our community come closer to our mission.
The journey has been full of joys. But also full of challenges. I don’t think we keep getting stronger thanks to anyone’s awesomeness (since of course you are awesome!!!), but it is only because of the Fuerza Mayor (sorry, I can’t translate that) of the dream each of us have about the day when LATINO voices will unite to make a real INFLUENCE. This is so needed in every sector. In our businesses, our schools, our communities, our country. This will be impossible if one tries to impose his/her music to all. This will only be possible if we respect each other’s unique music and slowly find the way to our Latino Symphony. It will be easier to find common denominators that will lead us to a powerful Orchestra that has the capacity to play amazing and STRONG music in perfect harmony. But this Orchestra must also have the leadership to give the space to the soloists who can shine and play a different or even new music with innovative instruments that fall outside of the “norms”.
I only pray today that we don’t get used to the noises of division. That we don’t get used to seeing our dreamers die (
or get kicked out of their schools and their country) right in our face. That we don’t come out of the state of shock so easily in front of the issues affecting our community: The highest unemployment rate, the highest school drop out rate, the highest suicide rate among teenagers and so many health related issues like diabetes, heart disease and spina bifida. The highest group loosing their homes, and the list here can go on if you help by adding your cause and building awareness.
On a positive note, I pray that we take advantage of the massive number of Latino(a)s in Social Media who are willing to play their unique voices and instrument in this powerful orchestra. That we take pride in the new numbers revealed by the Census, pride in being the youngest ethnic group in the country, the most entrepreneurial, the most cyber connected, the ones shaping the future of the United States of America! Perhaps my step father might not see the so often mentioned “2050’s” in which Latinos will……(I’ve heard it all – good and bad). However, my four kids will see it for sure. It is to them that I want to dedicate LATISM today. I dedicate to them our humble beginnings, our 134,000 and plus leading voices, our blogs, our tweets, our businesses, our careers, our non-profit organizations, our music, our scream for unity, our collective desire to finally move forward by finding common denominators. To your kids and my kids! Salud and welcome to the new Latino Symphony!
ps: Feliz día del los trabajadores. Que nadie te quite la dignidad que te mereces. Con o sin papelito. Gracias por ayudarnos a construir nuestra sociedad.
Don’t forget to register for LATINO2 and if you are an expert, to submit your speaking proposal. They are being accepted until Friday, May 6th.