Bellevue LifeSpring’s Human Services Administrator, Carlos Vargas, shares what his Latinx heritage means to him personally and as part of the Bellevue LifeSpring team.
1. What do your language, heritage, and culture mean to you?
“These three elements are a part of my life, and I am happy to carry them with me. I grew up in a primarily Latinx household in rural Eastern Washington in the Yakima Valley, an agricultural part of the state. My parents are of Mexican descent, and I, like most of my siblings, am American born. It is very common for families like mine to code-switch between speaking English and Spanish.
The Latinx community is a diverse, hard-working, and generous community with a shared sense of belonging. It is a community that offers a helping hand with no hesitation. This is especially true for people like me who come from a small town where everyone knows each other. I think that is what culture means to me – a sense of belonging and welcoming. I am proud to be a part of that Latinx community.”
2. How has your heritage impacted your work here at Bellevue LifeSpring?
“I think diversity and representation are important for families because it allows them to see reflections of themselves as members of the local community and as leaders in professional fields.
I find my Latinx heritage to be a strength for my work as a Human Services Administrator. It allows me to build rapport quickly and with empathetic respect for Latinx people who may be hesitant to reach outside their personal networks to ask for help. Coming from a low-income background, I know that outreach can be very daunting – even more so when parents do not speak English. I am more than happy to know that I have become an important liaison for Bellevue’s Latinx families to find the resources they need.
I hope to see more and more racially diverse community members represent their towns, cities, school districts, and organizations, just as I do so that we can better serve the unique needs of the BIPOC communities.”