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Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month 2022 with William Hurley

National Hispanic Heritage Month kicks off on Sept. 15 and runs through Oct. 15. Each year, the U.S. observes Hispanic Heritage Month by celebrating the history, culture, contribution, and importance of Americans whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America.

Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month 2022 with William Hurley

In honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month, we hear from our Velocity team members who volunteered to share their personal stories on topics that will touch upon Hispanic/Latino traditions, values, culture, cuisines, and more. This is a great opportunity to listen and learn from our friends and colleagues — and support and embrace the Hispanic/Latino community.​​​​​​​

In ‘Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month,’ this story comes from William Hurley, software development technical lead, who joined Velocity in 2017.

Hi William, tell us about yourself. 

My mother and grandmother are from El Salvador, and my father is from Las Vegas. I was born in Las Vegas, but growing up, I lived all over the U.S. because my father was in the Navy. I did not grow up speaking Spanish, but I have always wanted to learn so that I could speak with my grandparents in their native language. To that goal, I started learning Spanish last year with my girlfriend.

Do you have any favorite Hispanic heritage family recipes? Do you have any eating habits/rituals that are specific to your culture?

Growing up, my mom would make some typical Mexican dishes, such as tacos, enchiladas, and molé. For Thanksgiving and Christmas, my grandmother makes tamales and a special turkey that is boiled in a delicious tomato broth with capers. It is a labor of love that takes all day to prepare, and my grandmother closely guards the recipe. Another dish we enjoy but don’t cook ourselves are pupusas, the national dish of El Salvador. A pupusa is a thick griddlecake or flatbread made with cornmeal or rice flour. It is usually stuffed with one or more ingredients, which may include cheese, chicharrón, squash, or refried beans. It is typically served with curtido (a spicy fermented cabbage slaw) and tomato salsa and is traditionally eaten by hand.

What is a Hispanic tradition you wish to pass down that your parents/ relatives have passed down to you?

Our most important holiday is Christmas, but we typically celebrate it on Christmas Eve. Since my family is diverse, we usually have either a traditional turkey dinner made by my father or a turkey with tomato sauce and capers made by my grandmother.

Since we moved a lot when I was young and were never near family, we didn’t have a lot of El Salvadoran traditions growing up. We would have traditional pinatas at birthday parties and always spent Thanksgiving and Christmas together. Even though we didn’t have many traditions growing up, it is still important for me to honor my roots and pass along our traditions to my daughters.

Who are some famous Hispanic/Latino-American musicians, artists, writers, and actors? How have they impacted U.S. culture?

The most well-known Hispanic artists would probably be Jennifer Lopez and Shakira, but two artists/groups that integrated Latin influences and Spanish into their music before Jennifer Lopez or Shakira became popular were Cypress Hill and Big Punisher. Cypress Hill has even re-recorded entire albums in Spanish. They paved the way for other Hispanic artists and inspired me to be proud of my heritage.

Have you experienced a cultural stereotype, challenge, or bias? Can you share your experience(s)?

Growing up, my dad was in the Navy and would be out to sea on a submarine for 6-months at a time. We lived all over the country, but when I first started attending elementary school, we were stationed in Connecticut, which had little to no Hispanic population. We would get strange looks whenever we were out in public with just my mother because my brother and I have lighter skin compared to our mother. The biggest stereotype I have experienced over the years has been people assuming my ethnicity was Mexican.

Thank you, William, for sharing your story with us. As you know, Diversity and Inclusion are central to Velocity’s purpose and core values – and we are committed to these across all levels and areas of the company. We’re incredibly proud of all our team members. We are dedicated to ensuring that Velocity is a place of inclusiveness and an environment where all our team members feel comfortable being themselves and supported.​​​​​​​

Let’s continue to celebrate, educate, and share the rich history and traditions of Hispanic/Latino culture. Here are a few resources to better acquaint yourself with organizations that support the Hispanic/Latino community:

Hispanic Heritage Foundation identifies, inspires, prepares, and connects Latino Leaders in the community, classroom, and workforce.

Unidos US serves the Hispanic community through research, policy analysis, advocacy efforts, and program work in communities nationwide. They partner with affiliates across the country to serve millions of Latinos in civic engagement, civil rights and immigration, education, workforce, and the economy, health, and housing.

Council for Latino Workplace Equity fosters workplace equity for Latino talent and seeks inclusion and opportunity for Latino leaders to claim their place at the table.


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