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Breaking Gender Stereotypes in the Latino Community

October 6, 2021
Alfonso Guzman
Community Voices
A young Latino professional hold his name "Alfonso" on a chalkboard in Union Square, NYC.

I’ve always had many women in my life who have been symbols of strength and resilience. My mother, my aunts, and grandmother have always worked hard for our family and even though I never had expensive things, I never felt in need of anything in my childhood. My aunt, my grandmother, and my mother made the decision in the 70s to immigrate to the United States in order to escape the civil war beginning in El Salvador. That decision is how the women in my life taught me that nothing is impossible, and with a little bit of help, anything is possible. 

Today, that’s exactly what I do, I help. I am Senior Manager of Parent & Family Engagement of special projects at INCLUDEnyc, working exclusively with Spanish speaking families. Currently, I support my colleagues in various projects. My work allows me to not only help administratively but also to work one on one with families. I give individualized support to families as well as facilitate workshops in communities. I’ve also had the opportunity to be part of conversations with community leaders in order to bring resources to our families. Working in a career that focuses on helping your community can be difficult for many Latino males. Having empathy and the power to show our sentiments isn’t only a feminine characteristic. In fact helping people isn’t particular to any one gender. We all need help and support in order to achieve our dreams and aspirations. That is what the women in my family taught me. We need more men in this field so young people will have the opportunity to see all genders responsible for their community and the education of our future generations. 

This is why I work at INCLUDEnyc. We also understand that many Spanish speaking families do not have access to resources. For this reason, we make sure that we connect with families in the boroughs and communities they live in. We have a team of educators that speak Spanish, that understands what it means to be Latino, and who are part of the communities we serve. INCLUDEnyc wants to create an inclusive community where we all have the same opportunities. We want to see that our Latina families have access to the same resources as other families, but not just in access to quality education and services for our children but also in areas of wellbeing. We want our young people with disabilities to have an opportunity to be independent and have access to various employment paths. 

Now as an adult, I have had time to reflect and have noticed that many of the difficulties that the families I help face are similar to the difficulties my own family experienced when we first came to this country. We must remember that everything is possible in community, work as a team and keep in mind that the professionals in the lives of our children are here to help. I am very proud to be able to share the experiences of Latino communities and help Latinos use their power to make changes in our community.