I know we are a powerful community. I look at my immigrant mother, who came to this country with three children and only her native tongue, and I see her triumph. I know we are resilient and capable of overcoming any challenge and BeVisible displayed this.

Lately, though, it has been difficult to unapologetically and loudly celebrate our community and ourselves. Maybe I have been caught up in my own responsibilities as I try to chase and find more time in the day. Or maybe the current climate of our society has just drained me, almost discouraged me from proclaiming our greatness.

But last week, I was reminded.

BeVisible, one of the largest career networks for the Latinx community hosted their #BeWokeSF in San Francisco. The #BeWokeSF event was a professional networking event bringing together multicultural talent and thought leaders from multiple different leaders. The space, which was filled with a stage, sponsor kiosks, and an open bar, was packed. It was a celebration, in all respects, of the genius that exists within our community.

#BeWokeSF was a platform for thriving Latinx entrepreneurs, young professionals, and established leaders to share gems and ask questions while also learning about the plagues that haunt our community, the work that still needs be done, and the spaces left forgotten and neglected that need repairing.

BeVisible founders, Andrea Guendelman and Silvia Travesani purposely and strategically founded the revolutionary digital space for Latinx community to be informed, included, and aware of what options of leaders they have to look up to and study from. The #BeWokeSF even brought the BeVisible movement into a real life space where no topic affecting our community was left untouched, no concern went by unheard, and no triumph went by uncelebrated.

Watching our people speak on things that mattered and on things that I didn’t even know still mattered has not only left me with the eagerness to work twice as hard, but to also teach everything I’ve learned.

We Need To Talk More About Impostor Syndrome.

One of the #BeWokeSf panelists, Monica Marquez, the head of Google’s Global Communication Advisory spoke very bluntly about the minority communities’ tendencies to suffer from Impostor Syndrome. Impostor syndrome is a psychological phenomenon or pattern where people doubt their accomplishments and successes. This is often found in oppressed communities because of what we have been taught to believe about ourselves. Media, politicians, teachers, police, along with other forms of influence and authority have used a variety of platforms to redefine us. As Latinx, our president has referred to us as rapists, criminals and most recently “bad hombres”. Whether we realize it or not, we slowly begin to adapt to the expectations of others- whether they be good or bad. So when we exceed those expectations and when we begin to become our greatness, we begin to doubt how much of that is actually really and how much of us is actually a “fraud.” Impostor Syndrome prevents us from fully celebrating ourselves, living in our confidence and acquiring positions meant to challenge us and teach us. If we don’t face this in our communities, we will never fully accept our greatness as ours and we will never take back our own power.

There’s Power in Believing In Something.

Mark Madrid, CEO of the Latino Business Action Network (a non-governmental organization collaborating with the Stanford Business School with Latino-funded research and impact programs), spoke briefly on his rise to success and spoke heavily on what helped take him there. Mark was brave and turned a networking event into a space of vulnerability and healing when he admitted to attempting suicide and almost succeeding years ago. Today, Mark works with Stanford on the Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative , which is intended to expand the Latinx database in regards to Latino business and their contributions to the economy. But in his attempt to kill himself, Mark almost ruined his life. He was left hospitalized with zero knowledge of whether or not he would survive. What saved him was his believe that he would survive. He knew that his purpose was going to be protected and therefore, he was going to be protected. Mark reminded us that if you believe, in anything, you will be believed in and it’s in those moments you realize you can overcome, and win.

The Kids Are Not Alright… Invest.

We are spending a lot of time talking to our kids and our youth about school, the future, planning, and work but we aren’t dedicating much time talking about investing. Ramona Ortega, founder & CEO of My Money, My Future advised, “if you are 25, you need to start investing in yourself. Forget about everything else and invest your money. Focus now, play later.” My Money, My Future is designed to help the youth understand financial planning. According to their website, more than half of millennial have less than $1,000 in their savings. This is a scary reality because it means that more than half of millennials are unprepared to survive should their circumstances change. It means that more than half of millennials are more than likely living paycheck to paycheck. This formula is a recipe for disaster. Ramona Ortega, through her informative work and through her company, has set up a system for millennials to be advised by millennials in all aspects of finances including translating financial verbiage, resources and tools and planning. The reality of the economy is that Latinos contribute to about two trillion dollars of the U.S economy. If we have that spending power, why not invest in ourselves, in our communities and our ability to become our own economy.

Owning Our Identity

President Trump has inaccurately, strategically and maliciously called the Latinx community “criminals”, “thugs”, “rapists” and most recently “bad hombres.” His administration is blatantly and shamelessly targeting the Latinx community with insults, racism, and misrepresentation. This is why journalist Hugo Balta, Senior Director of Hispanic Initiatives at ESPN and President of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, (NAHJ), speaks on the importance of owning and sharing our own narrative. Balta believes that once we start sharing our stories, and once we start controlling our own narratives, our community can unite and take control of our representations in all aspects that influence society. When we are in charge of our story, we are paving a safe and brave space for others to speak up not only about our struggles, but also our triumphs. Hugo Balta said that Trump generalizes us. He disregards our own histories, cultures, geographies, and goals. So when he generalizes us, then it is a sign that we must unite- as one and still embracing individuality.

Our voices can be our weapons.

To learn about how you can get networked in and build relationships – register at BeVisible Latinx.