by Jason Clark
Director – Diversity & Inclusion, Charles Schwab
I remember the discussions during the LLI Fellowship around impostor syndrome – the tendency to believe your professional success is attributed mostly to luck than skill. This has rung true for me most of my career and, unfortunately, has crept into my sense of identity.
I grew up feeling like I was never Latinx enough and often felt like an impostor within my own community.
I didn’t grow up speaking Spanish, but I did learn it as an adult later in life. Instead of learning important life lessons from immigrant parents or nurturing abuelas, I was forged in the fire of the foster care system, which taught me resilience and resourcefulness. Between my non-Spanish-sounding name and my Afro-Latinx heritage, I felt like I never fit the commonly portrayed narrative of what it means to be Latinx.
But, there is no one way to be Latinx. We are not a monolith, nor do we all share the same experiences or beliefs. We come in multiple shades, races, family dynamics, names, and
Our present existence is just as rich as our diverse history. While it’s taken me time to come to this conclusion myself and be unapologetically me, I hope all our stories will continue to be represented. And for that to happen, we must share them first.
As a leader, especially as a diversity practitioner, I feel called to make sure that intersectional and diverse voices are an essential part of our collective work, both inside and
outside of communities of color.
That is why I share my own story, and I encourage other leaders to continue building spaces where BIPOC do not feel like they need to fit into one box or
one perception of what Latinx identity is.
From the Latino Leadership Institute
There are 60 million U.S. Latinos, and almost 6 million people identify as Afro-Latino. Yet, as we have found in our work with Latino leaders across the country, pressure is often felt to check a single box or fit in. Through our programming, the LLI seeks to broaden the conversation inside and outside the Latino community on what it means to be Latino and to create a place of belonging.
Thank you, Jason, for sharing your story and inspiring others to do the same.
- Pew Research Center (2022): About 6 million U.S. adults identify as Afro-Latino
- CNN (2021): Blackness and Latinidad are not mutually exclusive. Here’s what it means to be Afro-Latino in America