Hablando con mi comunidad. Talking With my Hablando con mi comunidad. Talking With my
18 April 2024

Hablando con mi comunidad. Talking With my Community

I’m proud to say Spanish is my fist language and that everyone around me also spoke Spanish. When I moved from Texas to California three months ago, I wasn’t shocked about the language barriers within the community. Therefore, I was honored to deliver a bilingual presentation to a group of families with the Tuolumne River Trust, an organization working to protect and restore the Tuolumne River through advocacy, education and community engagement.  

My excitement turned to panic, why is there multiple ways to translate “U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service” to Spanish?! I hopped on a call with Ivette Lopez, an amazing leader I’m grateful to have within the Hispanic Access Foundation MANO network. Ivette shared her knowledge and assured me to have full trust in my skills. We talked about using tools as a foundation to communicate with an audience and prioritizing the meaning of what I’m trying to convey.

For years, I had been my grandmother’s personal translator and gained an appreciation for people willing to help us; now I get to help others. My presentation went well, and I was fortunate to connect with an audience that related to my struggles as a Spanish speaker. This experience reminded me of one of the reasons why I applied to my current position in visitor services – the importance of inclusion and communication. It was wonderful to see children and their parents be fully involved and included in wildlife education.

I grew up and went to college in El Paso, a city south of the Mexican border. Around 67% of El Pasoans and around 45% of Merced County residents speak Spanish. The language barriers in both regions make for similar issues. These issues entail exclusion from participation in education, employment, healthcare and many other social aspects. Hispanic Access Foundation is working diligently to address these issues by providing opportunities to improve lives and create an equitable society.

The Pacific Southwest Region is doing their part to promote inclusive language within the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Some of their efforts include the creation of a Spanish language guide. Although this guide is not perfect, it serves as an instrument for communication. However, listening to the needs of our communities is also an essential part of the communication process. I’m thankful for the opportunity to collaborate with organizations that are attentive and look forward to seeing further progress. 


MANO Project
is an initiative of Hispanic 
Access Foundation.

P: (202) 640-4342