Carlos Retamoza, membership specialist II, has participated in many organizations focused on diversity and inclusion over the years and is now excited to be a part of USAble Life's Inclusion Council. He says, “Being part of the Inclusion Council is an opportunity to make all of us more visible to one another — as individuals and as a company — hopefully making us more understanding of each other.”
Being a member of the Inclusion Council lets Carlos continue his own progress and journey into diversity and inclusion. As part of that, he says, “I hope to gain and share a better understanding for myself and others about topics in which we have limited knowledge. This lets us, as individuals and as a company, have a better appreciation of each other and be good allies in the workplace and the community.”
For Carlos, diversity and inclusion mean acknowledging and celebrating differences. “It means recognizing that we don't know everything about others, and while our own experiences are not universal, there is value in learning about each others’ backgrounds,” says Carlos. He feels that helps us all be better co-workers, allies, and neighbors.
When it comes to Hispanic heritage, Carlos says he was greatly influenced by his high school Hispanic Studies teacher, Mercy Rhodes. He says, “She taught me about my history and culture, something that wasn't really taught in any other class. This prompted me to appreciate and value my culture, other cultures and strive to learn more about myself.” By learning to appreciate other cultures, Carlos was able to value the idea of diversity and inclusion. He says that he's inspired by young people and their openness to learning about other heritages and traditions. Carlos says, “I think back to my high school and especially college years where students were open and eager to learn about people from different backgrounds. They actively sought each other out, forming some of the most diverse and loving friend groups I've ever experienced.”
Being on the Inclusion Council allows Carlos not only to learn but also share with others. Carlos would like to teach others “that we have to be willing to explore our existing assumptions, even if it's uncomfortable, to identify our biases, and make conscious efforts to unlearn them.” And, if there was one thing in the world he could change, Carlos says, “It would be to have everyone understand that we're all interconnected; we're all in this together, and our combined actions have the power to right some wrongs and achieve great things for the common good.”