Alicia Garza is an experienced researcher, project manager, and Spanish translator with over 15 years of experience in the translation industry. Ms. Garza’s research experience includes social science and program evaluation research work across many federal agencies. Ms. Garza is also an adjunct faculty member in the Modern Languages and Women’s and Gender Studies Departments at the University of Texas at Arlington where she teachers in the areas of Spanish language acquisition and culture and women and gender studies.
The Latinx Community at FMG is Here to Help, Learn, and Grow
In honor and appreciation of National Hispanic Heritage Month, we’re spotlighting the invaluable work of our skilled Latinx FMG staff members. Our cultural viewpoint not only benefits our internal offices, but positions us to achieve meaningful connections with diverse groups within Latinx communities through our work with various government agencies and commercial clients.
Identity is complex. We are often asked, "What is Latinx, and how is it the same or different from Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish?" Latinx is a fairly new word used to describe ethnicity, and is born of activism efforts on social media to replace “Latino/a.” Latinx offers a more inclusive option with its gender-neutral addition of the “x” and speaks to the fluidity of Latino/a and Hispanic identity in a post-colonial era. However, Latinx is more of a descriptive term and not yet widely used in the practice of self-identification for ethnicity, according to a recent bilingual survey of U.S. Hispanic adults conducted in December 2019 by Pew Research Center. For the purposes of this post, given that it is descriptive and not prescriptive, Latinx suffices.
All of the references to ethnicity listed above have been used to describe people who have a heritage of speaking Spanish or have ancestral and cultural ties to any of the following geographic areas: Spain, Central and South America, and the Caribbean. Tracking the evolution of these terms reveals that perceptions related to usage have changed over time and can often depend on who is using the label. Day-to-day, members of these communities in the United States tend to first identify with their country of origin or heritage before adopting an all-encompassing ethnicity label. These same community members will opt for a broader term that best fits their comfort level and context. Recent revisions to the 2020 Census also broadened the concept of Hispanic origin, and now include three different designations in one question: Is this person of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin? The answer allows respondents to choose from multiple options, including writing in a specific country. Because of our unique diversity and point of view at FMG, our Latinx employees can determine, with sensitivity, the appropriate nuance, application, and how a particular term will resonate with an audience to accomplish your project's objective.
Through our inclusive approach to engaging Latinx communities, we’re committed to providing equitable, inclusive, and interdisciplinary research. Our Latinx FMG employees can connect with participants from diverse Latinx cultures, lifestyles, and backgrounds with respectful cultural sensitivity. We recognize the importance of considering the unique scenarios that may impact, hinder, or encourage participants to contribute to research that will enrich our studies. Our goal is always to illuminate Latinx participants’ voices and lived experiences and integrate their perspectives with evidence-based research that will inform engagement, policies, recommendations, and future research.
How Latinx Researchers Make a Difference
By implementing leading practices in diversity, equity, and inclusion and directly applying them to our research approaches, we:
- Communicate and evaluate research objectives from a culturally relevant perspective. Our goal is to achieve meaningful connections with Latinx populations that lead to impactful results. We understand how to reach demographically diverse populations through Latinx partnerships.
- Promote responsive practices to increase engagement. We understand that populations may encounter barriers—ranging from time constraints to a lack of tech savviness, from fear of authority to limited English proficiency—that impact engagement and the ability to contribute to research. We provide guidance for navigating language barriers and adequate planning to reach Spanish language-dominant and Latinx populations in our work at FMG.
At FMG, we contribute to equitable research, including providing high-quality translations and transcreations (translations adapted to the target culture by creating culturally sensitive messages that resonate with their audience).
- Employ an interdisciplinary staff trained in conducting research with Spanish language-dominant study participants, moderating from a culturally sensitive perspective, with an understanding of immigration policy, advocacy, and cultural studies.
What Does the Future Hold for our work with Latinx communities?
Growth! We are excited to continue expanding our in-house research expertise with Latinx communities, offering translation and transcreation services, and partnering with members of the broader Latinx community to impact research and policy. We remain steadfast in building cross-cultural bridges among federal, commercial, and nonprofit clients who seek to broaden their understanding of diversity, equity, and inclusion among Latinx communities.