Louis Irizarry

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Please explain what you do for living.

I manage all of the human resource compliance needs as well as various accounting functions at Bunting Graphics located in Verona, PA.  I also sit on the board of the Association of Latino Professionals For America (ALPFA) Pittsburgh.

How important in your identity is being Latino?

This is a big theme as I grow personally and professionally.  I think it is important to maintain the core values that helped shape who you are.  For me, growing up in a Latino household has given me an amazing perspective on life.  I don’t know if I would be the same person I am today if not for the cultural experiences I was able to have growing up.  I am at an age now where I am finding that it is up to me to preserve those unique traditions and customs that make me Latino. While there is a lot of political attention on the Latino population in the United States, I hope our culture continues to be valued given how it enriches our lives and those around us.

Is there something that you particularly value of your nationality or being Latino?

I think there are many beautiful cultures and people in this country and around the world.  If I had to pick what I value most about being Puerto Rican, it would have to be the food.  More accurately, the entire cooking process is near and dear to me.  The sofrito, the salsa and merengue playing in the background, listening to my Abuelo’s stories, and being around family are the things that stand out to me.  I am sure a lot of Puerto Ricans can share this sentiment and it is something I truly value.

Have you been treated differently because of being Latino (in the workplace, in public settings…etc.)?

While I am not really able to point to a specific moment when I felt someone was treating me differently because of my ethnicity, I will say that in certain situations I tend to try to blend in more than stand out.  Although I am proud of being Latino, I unfortunately recognize that in a professional setting, for example, it’s easier to fit in by assimilating to those around me. Usually, they are white non-Latinos, which is why I’m so appreciative and excited about groups like ALPFA that foster professional development in Latin culture so in the near future, a professional setting will be more diverse. I can personally say it is easy to recognize regions where diversity is valued, and am happy to see that many organizations and cities are placing a high priority on increasing diversity and inclusion.