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Elevating Hispanic Voices in Celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month


National Hispanic Heritage Month honors both Hispanic and Latin American cultures. Coinciding with the Independence Day of many Latin American countries, it is celebrated each September 15 through October 15.

In recognition of this year’s Hispanic Heritage Month, our Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, & Belonging (DEIB) committee curated a list of media to elevate Hispanic voices and highlight their unique perspectives. Additionally, our employees had the opportunity to participate in an internal book club and read Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia, a New York Times bestselling author of several novels that highlight Hispanic culture.

Our copies of Mexican Gothic were purchased from Booklandia, an online bookstore specializing in Spanish and bilingual books for audiences of all ages. IMS is proud to support this Latina-owned company based in Oakland, CA—one of our local communities.

Reading Mexican Gothic

Mexican Gothic takes place in the 1950s during a gilded age in Mexican history that followed the revolution. True to its name, the novel is dark and melodramatic. The author describes it as a romantic fiction with a prevailing atmosphere of suspense or terror; an IMS graphic designer called it a “beautiful homage to gothic horror.”

Our book club convened twice during Hispanic Heritage Month to discuss the novel’s themes and cultural influences. These virtual meetings led to lively conversations on the relationship between eugenics and racism, vampires and silver, mycelium and evolution, and more. Though the book’s cultural references were subtle, they triggered several internet “deep dives” by team members who were inspired to investigate further.

Analyzing Themes and Symbols

Aside from cultural symbolism within Mexican Gothic, including serpents and evil eyes, much of our group discussion focused on the value of exposure to foreign customs and perspectives. This theme was pervasive within the novel itself—the family bloodline required an “outsider” to survive, after all—and it frequently emerged during our conversations with each other.

We arrived at the mutual conclusion that a book does not have to contain an overt history lesson to be effective; it is enough to help normalize the differences among us through an alternate point of view.

"I loved hearing how others viewed the book through their own lens."

JudeAnne Heath, DEIB Committee Member

"I think the author's purpose was to highlight how eugenics, colonialism, racism, and sexism occur in societies throughout time and region—how they all factor into our experiences as we deal with the consequences of their role in shaping our societies. That there is a better way if we have the courage to fight back against the ideologies that one person is less valued or appreciated because of their race, sex, or national origin.”

Sam Alvarado, DEIB Committee Member
Expanding Cultural Horizons

In addition to showcasing Hispanic and Latin American perspectives, these Hispanic Heritage Month activities were designed to enhance cultural understanding and facilitate meaningful conversations. We are grateful to our team members for providing honest feedback about their book club experience. Many employees shared that the most valuable aspect was interacting with each other—especially those outside of their team. It was very rewarding for book club participants with personal connections to Hispanic culture too.

Ultimately, the Hispanic Heritage Month book club experience taught us how open communication can lead to understanding and acceptance. Not only were we exposed to new voices through work by Hispanic artists, we gained valuable insight from our teammates’ personal stories and perspectives.

Promoting Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, & Belonging

As part of our Core Value to “Operate as One,” the IMS team is encouraged to celebrate diversity, be equitable in action, and be inclusive by nature. We are committed to making sure Hispanic people are seen, heard, and valued—not only during this month, but each and every day. We gratefully acknowledge the hard work of our DEIB committee to fulfill this mission and make Hispanic Heritage Month an educational and rewarding experience for all involved.

"It provided an opportunity to meet new people in the company that I don't typically work with. It also was another way that IMS demonstrates their interest in highlighting diversity in our company and celebrating other heritages and cultures. It feels great to work for a company that goes above and beyond for DEIB.”

Lily List, DEIB Committee Member

“It meant a lot to me being able to interact and appreciate Hispanic Heritage Month with colleagues as I got to share my experiences growing up in Hispanic culture. I learned more about what people do and don't know, and where I can do my part to educate.”

Sam Alvarado, DEIB Committee Member