By Vahid David Delrahim
As Hispanic Heritage Month 2021 comes to a close, I couldn’t resist sharing a few words about what it means to me.
In the United States, we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month to recognize the achievements and contributions of Hispanic Americans. In this country, 60.6 million people identify as Hispanic, according to the latest Census. Here in Los Angeles County; we’re a proud home to more Hispanics than any other U.S. county, with 4.9 million claiming the designation.
The fact is, at Bliss, we boast a workforce of over 50 percent of people – at all levels — who claim Hispanic heritage. That means, at work, clearly, we enjoy a lot of culture from our Hispanic colleagues. We get to hear Spanish spoken in many dialects from many countries. We also enjoy different foods, traditions, faiths and viewpoints that come with a diverse workforce.
Many of the folks that work at Bliss are immigrants, like me. They came to this country, most of them, looking for more opportunities to create a better life for themselves and their families. Some are children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren of folks who did the same. Many are from Mexico and some are from other parts of Latin America. Together they are Hispanic or Latinx.
I’d say we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month all-year-round at Bliss. In October, I spoke to a few Hispanic Bliss teammates who are thriving here.
Luis, who is our Information Technology Lead, was born in Sinaloa, Mexico and has lived in Los Angeles and worked for my company for eight years. Luis has been very happy living in the United States but misses authentic Mexican food. He says that despite the abundance of Mexican food in California, it’s just not the same – the ingredients are different.
Culturally, Luis still celebrates Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, which is a holiday celebrated on the 1st and 2nd of November and originated in Mexico before the Spaniards arrived. The multi-day holiday involves family and friends gathering to pay respects and to remember loved ones who have died.
These celebrations are meant to be joyous as celebrants remember funny events and anecdotes about the departed. Luis said his family builds an altar and puts up pictures of family members and favorite dishes and things that the departed enjoyed.
Luis said he was aware that the United States celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month because, while still in México in the 90s, he saw former President Clinton discussing it on TV. About the designation, he said, “I think it’s important here with so much diversity. The more that we know about each other, the better to we’ll do in this country together.”
Silverio, our Field Operations Manager, has been with Bliss for two years but has worked for my other companies for more than 20. He helps operate newer sites and hires staff and ensures excellent customer service throughout. He has been promoted several times and continues to grow with the company. He says he stays at Bliss because he can do his best work and that “This company really cares about its employees; we are all like a family.”
Silverio came to the United States, from Mexico, in 2001 and is very grateful to this country for its opportunities.
Like Luis, he misses the Day of the Dead celebrations and still observes them here.
He appreciates Hispanic Heritage month “Because we can reflect on how our cultures have had an influence on other cultures and places throughout history. There’s a lot of things Hispanic and Latin people do here and everywhere.”
I couldn’t agree more and feel so enriched to have such a large Hispanic workforce at Bliss. Together, we’re happily making our business thrive.