Hispanic Heritage Month at Fireclay
Today marks the start of National Hispanic Heritage Month, a time to celebrate the contributions people of Hispanic and Latin American descent have made to our country and communities.
As a company with a majority of employees having Hispanic or Latinx heritage in a state home to over 15 million Hispanic and Latinx Americans, this is a month of great importance and joy.
To kick-off our month of celebration we wanted to begin with those that make us who we are at Fireclay, our teammates, and sat down with our Director of People Laura Martinez, joined by our Maintenance Manager Ramiro Plascencia and our People Operations Representative Marisela Galvan, to learn why Hispanic and Latinx heritage is so important to Fireclay and how our approach to diversity, equity, and inclusion makes us a stronger, more special place to work.
Meet Laura, Marisela, and Ramiro!
Why is National Hispanic Heritage Month important to us at Fireclay Tile?
Laura Martinez (LM): We celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month to provide the opportunity to recognize the complexities and richness of each cultural identity of Hispanic people, who come from Mexico, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean, and Spain.
We believe it’s important to understand and appreciate these stories within the greater American narrative. Hispanic Heritage Month celebrates the history and countless contributions that Latinx people have made to our company as well as the nation over the years.
Hispanic Heritage Month is one of the many months and days dedicated to a certain community that Fireclay Tile recognizes in order to make our Teammates feel welcomed, supported, and included no matter what their background is.
What percentage of Fireclay employees have Hispanic or Latinx heritage?
We know ceramics go back thousands of years. How is Hispanic heritage intertwined with the long and rich history of tile and of Fireclay?
Ramiro Plascencia (RP): Tile is ancient. It was used quite a bit in Europe/Spain and eventually, its influence made its way to other parts of the world such as Mexico, Central America, and South America. It is very popular in Mexico; Puebla, Guanajuato, and Jalisco. In these regions, you'll find famous tiles called Salitos and Tecates.
Tile shown: Antique 8" Hexagon
What does Fireclay do to create an inclusive workplace for all?
LM: We are proud of the training investment we’ve made to diversity, equity and inclusion because it sets a foundation of understanding and a starting point to continue crucial conversations. Like other companies, Fireclay paused operations this year to ensure our message was clear - we want to foster an inclusive and respectful environment—where everyone can thrive because it is critical to our continued success. Click here to learn what it's like working for Fireclay.
We invited teammates to be active and join Teammate Resource Groups (TRGs). Through further education and intentional objectives, the TRGs will work closely with their leadership sponsors to foster a more diverse and inclusive Fireclay. TRGs formed so far include Fireclay Families, LGTBQ, LIFT (stands for Leadership, Influence, Friendship and Triumph which supports women at Fireclay), and Enlace (our Latinx resource group).
Much like safety, diversity, equity and inclusion are treated as shared responsibilities at Fireclay.
What is the Latinx TRG?
LM: The Enlace (Latinx) Teammate Resource Group helps to promote the heritage of Hispanic or Latinx teammates by sharing their culture and offering educational opportunities, networking, and cultural events.
The group’s goal is to unite the Hispanic or Latinx community at Fireclay through a collaborative network that supports education, promotes career growth, cultural awareness, as well as being finders and keepers of talent.
How do you believe Fireclay's Latinx TRG supports Hispanic heritage?
Marisela Galvan (MG): The Latinx TRG gives people not just the recognition of demonstrating solidarity at Fireclay, but honoring our culture, background, and providing an outlet to share our background with all our teammates.
This month provides a great educational opportunity for employees to learn more about the many facets of our Latinx / Hispanic culture, whether it’s about our culture, an artifact, or food, our TRG gets to introduce teammates to things they otherwise wouldn’t have learned about.
How do you think the Latinx TRG will affect the overall culture at Fireclay?
MG: Through professional affiliations, community groups & allyships, TRGs partner with all teammates will raise awareness & sensitivity. From personal experience, seeing people that look like you or that share your identity and culture and are being celebrated for it is a huge deal. It just kind of makes you feel included, it makes you feel represented, and it makes you feel proud.
Tile Shown: Glacier Bay Small Diamonds
What does National Hispanic Heritage Month mean to you?
LM: Hispanic Heritage Month is a way to celebrate us, our cultural backgrounds, and our contributions through art, music, food, and history. Our stories have made us who we are: strong, hardworking, enthusiastic people with a sense of humor and community. No matter where we come from or what we’ve gone through, our Hispanic heritage stays with us and influences the way we engage with people and see the world.
What do you hope non-Hispanic or non-Latinx Americans take away from National Hispanic Heritage Month this year?
LM: Like an intricate mosaic order, we all should know that diversity in color, size and shapes work in tandem to form our beautiful products, and we must understand that all the pieces in that order are equal in value no matter what their dimensions.
Get to know more about our team and be on the lookout over the next 30 days for more stories celebrating the work, culture, and achievements of the Hispanic and Latinx communities in the US and beyond.