How does a Latina girl who didn’t grow up in one of the 50 states end up with a job in Christian radio? Is she even legal? Try answering that question on the air! Ha! I’m glad it wasn’t a live call. I tried to reply politely, but they rudely hung up the phone. I had started to explain that I was born in Puerto Rico, a commonwealth of the United States, where you are born an American citizen.
Ok, but what about the Latina girl’s ACK-cent? Could Christian radio listeners understand and relate to her? Isn’t she from a different culture?
I do have a puertorrican ACKcent and I love my culture. When we went to grandma’s house she would teach us salsa & merengue (dance steps which come in handy during Zumba class at the gym!) We ate arroz & habichuelas y bistec encebollado for dinner (white rice, red kidney beans & a sort of beefsteak with sautéed onions … not spicy at all!). And my preferred language is “Spanglish”, which is what you’ll hear if I’m on the phone with my family or friends.
Part of my Latina life was very Latin, but there was another side. My parents insisted I learn English at an early age. In Kindergarten we learned One, Two, Three and Uno, Dos Tres. At school, our friends talked about the Disney Channel (when Justin & Britney were Mouseketeers), Nickelodeon and MTV. I loved reading books like “The Baby-Sitters Club” and “Sweet Valley High.” And I wanted to be on the cover of YM magazine.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are more than 50 million Hispanic people in the U.S. That makes us the largest and fastest-growing racial minority. Our stories are as different as the countries our families are from (Puerto Rico, México, Guatemala, El Salvador, Santo Domingo, etc…). Each story is its own unique blend. That’s 50 million stories, not just in California, Texas and Florida, but all across the country, waiting to be shared.
I believe there is immense potential for growth and ministry here. Don’t just look at statistics (numbers); zoom in and look closer at the people. Many of these uniquely blended people are either listeners or they could be. You might be able to reach them in the same way that a Latina like me ended up in Christian radio: I asked God.
Many of my prayers in high school and college were along the lines of “Lord, I’m not even sure what I want to do with my life. What do YOU want?” I believe God answered those prayers through college professors, church leaders, station managers and program directors who saw potential in me, invested in my life and took risks. I am grateful to Ron, Esteban, Hector, Popelnick, Janet, Ruth, Les, Dick, Mike, David, Susan, Tim and many others who impacted my life and helped me get to where I am today.
Who is going to be grateful for how you impacted them?