Celebrating Latinx Diversity with Carolina Moreno
Carolina Moreno is a Health Enterprise reporter at HuffPost and a co-lead of Oath's Latinos in Tech (LIT) employee resource group (ERG) for the New York office. When we catch up with her, she's coming from a meeting about Latinx Heritage Month. She's energized, focused, and passionate.
For those who are unfamiliar, what does the term Latinx signify?
It's seen as a more inclusive version of "Latino." In Spanish, if you have a group of five women (Latinas) and one guy, that group is referred to using the male form.
Latinx is just a really great way to take out gender—consider those who are gender-nonconforming—and promote intersectionality, inclusivity, and community.
Tell me about your involvement with LIT.
I became involved with LIT last year, during Oath's first Hispanic Heritage Month (Oath was formed in June 2017). Some of our global leads were previously part of Yahoo's Hispanic ERG, and they helped bring Latinos at Oath together to form LIT.
It has helped me find other Latinos in the company. LIT allows us to come together, across various brands and departments, and bask in the beauty of our culture, discuss important issues in our community, and talk about what it really means to be a Latino in a big company. I see it as a little haven for ourselves.
It's also been a great way to share the things that matter to many of us with the rest of Oath. For example, one of our amazing co-leads, Denise Frutos, put together all the World Cup viewing parties and celebrations that you saw at Oath's New York office. It was exciting to see so many people come out to watch the World Cup because soccer is not a very big sport in the U.S., but it is a very big deal in Latin America. And in this case, it brought everybody together—not just Latinos.
What's your hope for this year's Latinx Heritage Month?
Our theme for Latinx Heritage Month this year is "Breaking Down Barriers." When we decided to change the month's name from Hispanic Heritage Month to Latinx Heritage Month, that was in the spirit of breaking down barriers and building bridges within our community. "Latinx" is a big way of promoting inclusivity and intersectionality.
When we talk about using the term 'Latinx' we're talking about not only being gender neutral, but about spurring a larger conversation about all the different types of Latinos—from queer Latinxs to Afro-Latinxs—and beyond. There are still some divisions within the Latino community. We have Cuban-Americans talking about one specific issue, and Mexican-Americans talking about another. Some consider themselves primarily Colombian-American or Venezuelan-American.
It's important that we cherish our cultural differences without letting these designations divide us. The term 'Latinx' is a really great way to talk about that need for unity, particularly in the world we're living in today. This year, we're really trying to create positive change for our community by building bridges and breaking down barriers internally and externally.
What events do you have planned to bring these themes to life?
The first thing, something that's very near and dear to my heart, was our kickoff event: an homage to Puerto Rico. We highlighted Puerto Rican food, drinks, and had an authentic Bomba performance, while also raising nearly $2,000 for Hurricane Maria survivors. We expect Oath for Good to match that sum, which is really exciting! I went to the island after the storm to report and saw firsthand the destruction and despair, so it was important to me to do something for the island.
We also had a wonderful Mambo class this week, with a great turnout, and next week we're hosting an interactive workshop about colorism and homophobia within communities of color. To close things out, we're planning a great big party with a lot of performances, food, everything. The theme is "A Tribute to Afro-Latinidad," and we plan to honor many of the rich and beautiful things Afro-Latinxs have given and continue to give to our community.