BKV Celebrates National Latinx & Hispanic Heritage Month

This year, From September 15-October 15 during Latinx & Hispanic Heritage Month, we looked to our Latinx and Hispanic colleagues to recognize their unique perspectives to share their personal perspectives of “What Hispanic Heritage Month means to you?” Here’s what they had to say:
Interior Designer

Paola Castanon

Born in Austin, Texas
Parents born in Queretaro, Mexico

“Being Hispanic means embracing the culture and diversity from all Hispanic heritages. It also means connecting to our heritage through different traditions and delicious food! Growing up, I was able to spend summers and winter breaks in Mexico. It was a great experience to learn and hear about the wonderful things my heritage means to my family. When I get the chance, I try to make a trip to Queretaro to visit family, as well make a quick trip to my current favorite city, Mexico City.”

Architectural Designer

Jorge Zou

Born in Guatamala

“Being Chinese-Hispanic made me adopt two cultures resulting a unique blend. As a Chinese born in Guatemala, I enjoyed growing up with both cultures and traditions. Every year I get to celebrate New Year’s and my birthdays twice because of the Gregorian calendar and the Chinese (Lunar) calendar which my parents use. Also, we celebrated a lot of holidays from Semana Santa (Holy week) to Mid-Autumn Festival. Therefore, there was a culinary explosion in my house that ranged from tamales and fried plantains along with an aromatic Guatemalan coffee to the typical Chinese dimsum with Oolong tea. Now that I live in the US, I enjoy interacting with other Asian and Hispanic communities and learn more from them.”

Senior Architectural Designer

Ramon Irizarry

Born in Puerto Rico

“I’m proud to be Hispanic. I was born in Puerto Rico and my experience as a Hispanic in the United States is very different from that of other Latin people. The reason for this is that Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens by virtue of the island’s Commonwealth association with the United States. Even with this difference, we still have to endure hardships and difficulties. I am proud to walk in the footsteps of my grandparents and my parents that worked hard and strived for better lives for their children, while constantly sharing stories of difficulties and success that will help me and others in our families not give up but instead aim for more. We’re no different after all. People simply need to see us for who we are and not what they expect us to be. All we have to do is think outside the box.”

Architectural Designer

Andrea Vergara

Born in El Salvador

“There are several things that define what being Hispanic means to me, here are the Top 3:

  1. Strong family/community values: Family extends beyond your close relatives. You will usually end up with a bunch of aunts and uncles that you’re not really related to, but are close “family friends.”
  2. An innate joy, a celebration of life: Not all times will be good, but Hispanics are passionate about celebrating life!
  3. Diversity and Beauty: Latin America is one of the most biodiverse and beautiful regions in the world, and so are its people and food.”
Project Architect

Tony Lopez

Born in Fresno, California
Father born in Juarez, Mexico

“Being Hispanic means eating the foods, speaking the language, and embracing traditions we don’t normally see here in the States. My grandmother, or “abuela,” would always feed me traditional sugar bread which is something I like to offer to my friends and colleagues. Something I’ve recently started doing is practicing and celebrating day of the dead, or “dia de los muertos.” It’s a way of honoring your past while keeping the memories of the departed alive and into the future.”

Architectural Designer

Joe Iglesias

Born in Mexico

“Born in Mexico and growing up by the border, I’ve had the opportunity to stay connected with my heritage as much as I can, including roots I have deep overseas. For me, being Hispanic means striving for excellence just as my parents have learned from their parents. We are hardworking, passionate, don’t take things for granted, and our love for everyone goes beyond any barrier. Most of all, it’s ‘sharing is caring.’ We write our story by being our true authentic selves, practicing our crafts, our cuisines, making music, and storytelling. Through understanding and compassion, we can all work together to make our dreams possible. I, Jose Angel Iglesias Ziga, Jr., am proud to call myself Mexican-American.”

Director of Business Development

Nick Ramirez

Born in Indianapolis, IN
Father born in Havana, Cuba

“I’m a 1st generation Cuban-American and very proud of this side of my heritage. Being a part of the Hispanic community to me is about being prideful and grateful for what you have in life. My grandparents escaped from Cuba as Fidel Castro was taking over, and they had to sacrifice everything for a fresh start in America. They always had a positive outlook and shared what they could to make my family happy. This type of positive view on life has stuck with me to this day and I have my Cuban grandparents to thank for this life lesson. I still use my grandma’s recipes of arroz con pollo and picadillo, as well as enjoy a nice cup of Cuban coffee.”

Architectural Designer

Angie Ramos

Born in Rice Lake, Wisconsin
Father born in Colima, Mexico
Mother born in Sayula, Mexico

“Being Hispanic means being part of a community of dedicated, hardworking, and resilient individuals who have fought tirelessly for generations to rise above their circumstances.”