Wishes from a latino Software Engineer for 2017

Version en Español

A few months ago I wrote and shared among my friends: “we don’t need walls, we need opportunities”. Ironically I think now we could get both. Regardless if the US administration builds a wall in the border with Mexico, I think 2017 and the following years are full of challenges for latino communities. Challenges that we need to look as opportunities.

If you are latino growing up or living in the US, you already know that things aren’t always easy. In Latin America we haven’t found a good compromise between democracy and social justice. We used to look at the US as an example. But now we know that with democracy, we don’t always get what we want which means that we need to do whatever we have to do, even if the government is making things harder. It’s never trivial, but after last year’s election the relationship status between the US government and latinos changed from getting better to it’s complicated.

What do we do then? Well, I have three wishes for 2017.

I wish more latinos are involved in philanthropy efforts for latino based organizations that benefit the latino community. In other words, I wish more of my latino friends were willing to participate in the fantastic experience that is helping non-profits organizations that support our community. I highly recommend participating in the Latino Community Foundation and joining a giving circle but there are many other options.

As a software engineer, I wish we have more latinos working and leading inside tech companies. I think the latino community is an attractive market full of opportunities that also generates amazing designers, product managers, engineers and tech leaders that can contribute to tech companies and at the same time give back to the community.

I wish we find and promote more role models for latinos in Latin America and the US. I wish kids back at home and in the latino neighborhoods in the US, grow up trying to be like a Brazilian Jessica Mah who creates a Fintech startup while still in college. Or what about a Peruvian Debbie Sterling that helps latino girls to discover how fun science and engineering can be. Or why not, a Mexican Marc Benioff that builds the next platform for a software revolution with the same social responsibility that Benioff is know for.

Those amazing latino leaders and role models are already out there. Some of them are already making history. Others, they still don’t know how to accomplish their goals and help our community but they’ll find a way soon enough. And when they do, we have to promote them, talk more about them and specially celebrate their victories because their success is the success of our community.

It’s up to us to transform challenges into opportunities. It’s our chance to take down walls before they’re built. Let’s take them down with love, compassion and wiliness to do great things together. In the end, walls are only a sign of division and inequality. But they are also a reminder that when we stand together as one community, we’ll stand higher than any wall. 2017, bring it on!

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