This Hispanic Heritage Month season has felt more powerful than others. Could it be that our voices are getting louder after the world experienced the toughest two years as a collective? Or is it that the Latino community finally understands the value they bring to the United States?
Claudia Romo Edelman happens to believe that we are nearing a reality where Latinos, Latinas, and Latinxs everywhere will be recognized for all their grandeur and be treated equally.
“This is our time. We owe it to our ancestors. They did all the work, and now we’re so ready.”
“We’re so strong because they did the work already.”
A heritage of strong women
Romo Edelman was born in Mexico to parents who removed any inkling of limitations from her life.
Both of her parents were basketball players. Her mother, Cecilia Romo, played for Mexico’s national team, but her true prowess lay in her ability to reinvent herself as often as she’d please. After her mother’s run as a basketball player, she became an economist and then an actress — making her one of the most notable names in Mexican media history.
It is no surprise that Romo Edelman exudes confidence and strength; the women in her life instilled the attributes that she will carry with her all her life.
“I grew up seeing strong women in my family, taking the decisions of their lives, and not letting fear drive their lives. It was not that they were fearless, but they felt free in their decision-making process.”
When mileage is the best teacher
Romo Edelman’s life has allowed her to witness the Latino experience through different lenses.
She lived in Europe for 25 years. Initially, she would backpack through the continent, which was a trip she took on her prom dress. However, she stayed and learned about the Latino culture in Europe.
“In Europe, I was a true minority. I was the first person Latina or Mexican person that they ever saw. As soon as I got into any room, I could tell that I had an imaginary pineapple growing out of my head. I felt it.”
That is why when she decided to relocate to the United States, she thought, based on the statistics of the Latino population, that her experience was going to take a turn for the better.
“When I moved to the States, I thought I was going to finally be accepted and particularly because of the numbers of Latinos which are so strong. I thought there would be a red carpet for Latinos as a ‘thank you’ because we work hard, and you bring so much to the country. But it was actually the opposite.”
This made her realize how often she had downplayed her Latinidad to fit into spaces that neglected to see the value of all Latinos.
“When I was in settings with my husband, or even before we got married, when I was with him in any setting, I didn’t express being Latina. I tried to talk like them and think like them so I could assimilate easier, but it felt fake.”
Enraged at how overlooked the Latino community is, she started flaunting her entire identity in every setting. But the reaction was, sadly, as she expected.
“Then, as soon as I started being able to be myself, I was treated as a second-class citizen.”
However, that was not something she was willing to accept, especially knowing that this was a system that would work against her daughter as it has for so many other Latinas.
“I realized that my daughter was going to make 50 percent of the salary. And that’s not right. So I decided just to start working to correct as much as I can.”
“My daughter doesn’t have to have small dreams only because she’s Latina.”
Instead of settling, Claudia Romo Edelman decided to change the rules
Romo Edelman has taken the headstart given to our community by our predecessors and has created spaces where our valor will be seen.
As she says, she was born and raised a marketer. And, throughout her life, she’s used her natural talent to create change and advocate for social causes. She’s the founder of We Are All Human, The Hispanic Star, and Global GoalsCast.
You may have noticed that Hispanic Star’s logo appeared all over Hispanic Heritage Month, and that’s because she’s adding herself to the movement trying to solidify a legacy that will benefit future generations.
“We have the chance to change the history of Latinos and to have the next generation be fully paid, fully respected, and fully seen.”
“But we have to do the last bit because the dam is breaking, the water is leaking. Latinos will become visible. Latinos will be appreciated. Latinos will be placed on a red carpet.”
The Hispanic Star was created because Romo Edelman saw that though our community is substantial in size, it is still perceived as a small percentage of the population (though data states otherwise.)
She couldn’t believe that was the truth of Latinos in the United States.
“We’re so powerful, but [why do] we think of ourselves as weak? I realized that we’re fragmented, we’re unaware of our own contributions to this country, which causes us not to be ourselves, including in corporate settings, in the places where we work.”
A natural talent for fixing
As someone who has worked in the World Economic Forum, the U.N.Refugee Agency, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, UNICEF, and more, she’s been trying to win the hearts and minds of people and promote doing the right thing.
Claudia Romo Edelman is someone who’s always looked to fix, and that determination has allowed her to take numerous organizations and projects to success.
So, one of her solutions for the current phenomenon occurring to the Latino community was to bring about a framework or a platform for everybody to access and allow them to contribute to the ongoing change.
She’s been doing this by creating a symbol that will unify the community while showcasing the amazing contributions of Latinos, Latinas, and Latinxs.
“Creating The Hispanic Star was also so that we could continue with our shared dream, which is to be seen through the values and showcase the amazing contributions of Latinos.”
Romo Edelman thought of it all, too (as expected.) She even included corporate America in the dialogue because she knows that, ultimately, they’re the ones that need to acknowledge our power and the need to treat us fairly once and for all.
“We have this instrument that allows companies to attract consumers by manifesting themselves Hispanic/Latino-friendly helping them use their communications, their power to elevate the Latinos.”
While we all continue to fight for our seat at the table, she wants everyone to understand that there’s no room to degrade the Latino community because our influence has been astronomical.
“As soon as you enter any room, remind yourself and people how much we produce and how much we contribute and how their houses, their salaries, their everything comes from us.”
“So, tell them: you’re welcome.”