Name and Title:
Julissa Chavez – Latino Marketing & Sales Program Manager
Business Name, City and State:
7440 State Highway 121
McKinney, TX 75070
What do you embrace and love most about your culture?
There are so many things that I enjoy from our culture. Most of these revolve around food, and music, coupled with the love of family.
I love the nuclear family values expressed in Latino culture, but emphasis on the extended family values is equally important. While the nuclear family is a major priority, we also expand our family structure to include aunties, uncles, cousins and more importantly our elders within our family.
Having our own language, Spanish, helps maintain our cultural connection, no matter wherever I may go in many places throughout the world and here in the United States. That connection has enabled me to feel at home in places unknown or unfamiliar, given the similarities found within our culture. For example, when I visit a new place, I always find a way to experience the Latino’s side of town to taste the local Latin cuisine and have conversations in Spanish with locals to get to know their stories and background. My culture is very welcoming with love and support being very much a part of our foundation. With Latinos being such an expansive population group throughout the world, it is never hard to find a welcoming spirit of love.
What is something you want others to know about your heritage?
I want the roofing industry to see us as more than just labor workers. We are smart, educated, and hardworking people aspiring for a better life than the one we had in our native country. I am very thankful to have borne witness to this fact, which is often not part of the narrative of my heritage. Further, more and more of the labor force in the roofing industry is moving into the entrepreneurial space, which is an exciting shift that will lead to more business owners in the days to come.
Have you faced any challenges in your life because of your ethnicity?
When you come to a new country from another country, the acculturation process is always a struggle. This process is harder for older immigrants, while the process for those making up the younger immigrant population is less of a challenge.
Personally, I was one such kid at the age of eight (8). Rather than playing with toys in my formative years, I often found myself at this age being the one to help with business transactions, legal matters and just everyday matters that others who are native to America never have to face. Some examples are handling business transactions on the telephone for my mother pretending to be her due to the language barrier and others such as ordering food for the family at McDonalds.
Who has been an inspiring figure of Hispanic descent throughout your life? How or why has this person made an impact?
I grew up in Georgia most of my life and my educational experiences did not include any Hispanic or Latino history. I grew up only really knowing US history. Hispanic/Latino history is one of my biggest areas of growth today especially being in Texas where Mexican history is so dominant to the geographic location.
The only hero that my mother spoke to me about in a historical context was Cesar Chavez’s story of being a labor organizer for Mexican workers to have better working conditions. Cesar Chavez believed in nonviolent change for the farm worker’s movement with the focus being better wages for the laborers and improved labor conditions.
Cesar Chavez was a hero that not only looked like me, but we also share the same last name. I consider him a very influential figure for Latino generations to come, just like Martin Luther King Jr and Mahatma Gandhi.
What is your favorite way to celebrate your heritage?
My favorite way to celebrate being Mexican is by educating others to our history and contributions we have made to the United States of America. I love Hispanic heritage month 9/15-10/15 as my personal reminder to get to know more about our history, while sharing the findings with my elders, nephews, nieces and extended family.
I love having the opportunity to help educate them on our Hispanic heritage and heroes who look like us. I am very thankful for taking the steps to enhance my knowledge of self.