Last week I had the opportunity to attend LATISM13 at the Waldorf Astoria. I had been waiting for this day like a child waits for Christmas Day. It has been a little bit less than a year that I have become very active on social media, and I remember the first time I saw the LATISM hashtag. I had no idea what it was but reading the tweets during their weekly Twitter Chats (Thursdays in case you want to join in!) I knew it was an organization that I wanted to know more about.
Celebrating its fifth anniversary, LATISM, Latinos in Tech, Innovation, and Social Media, is “dedicated to advancing the social, civic and economic status of the Latino community.”
There were many great panels in the areas of Business, Education, Health and Technology. All the panels had similar goals: to encourage discussion, bring awareness and provide tips to help advance the Latino community in some way, for example, through a discussion about financial literacy or understanding the Affordable Care Act. There were plenty of opportunities to network; I finally had the opportunity to hug many wonderful bloggers that until previously I had only had an online relationship with and thank people who have helped me by offering me tips and advice on a wide array of topics related to social media or blogging.
The lovely Ana Flores, from Latina Bloggers Connect and SpanglishBaby, and I at the Johnson and Johnson Suite talking about what inspires us to care. #inspirecare. Thanks to all our lovely sponsors!
Of course, it wouldn’t be a Latino event without great food and a great party! The Waldorf Astoria was a beautiful venue, and the food was delicious. The “Gran Gatsby” Awards Gala on Friday night celebrated the best of blogging, and I’m proud to say that both NBC Latino and Mamiverse won awards!
But, it wasn’t all partying! There were instances full of true emotion, and of course, the one theme that was in everyone’s mind throughout the event was without a doubt, immigration reform. If you are an immigrant or have immigrant parents, you might get emotional thinking about how hard our parents had it, the reasons the immigrated, the conditions they endured, and how far along you have come…
I know for me, there were instances during the conference when I realized how incredibly lucky I am. I thought about the fact that I was at the Waldorf Astoria, having intellectual discussions about issues that many immigrants cannot even think about… because when you’re working two jobs and struggling to put food on the table, chances are you can’t take time to have a discussion with your friends about “work-life balance.”
My NBC Latino ladies Nina Terrero and Ally Hickson and my awesome BuzzFeed guy, Adrian Carrasquillo
LATISM13 was incredibly inspiring. First, because of the quality of the panels and speakers. THERE IS SO MUCH TALENT in our community!
And, of course, I couldn’t talk about how inspiring the conference was without mentioning the camaraderie, the sense of community, the hugs, the warmth….and the desire to help one another, because, if one person in the Latino community advances, that lifts up the entire community.
Five years since its inception, LATISM is on fire! Hell, the Hispanic community is on fire!! And we’re just getting started! If LATISM13 was an indication of the potential of our community, let me tell you… there is so much more to come!!
Thank you to all the LATISM volunteers who devote time, energy and spirit to making LATISM what it is and to making this conference a success. I cannot wait for next year’s conference, onward and upward we go!