When I first met Leticia Vazquez, she taught me the word tocaya – it’s the Spanish term for “name twin.” She’s my first tocaya – and the only person I’ve ever met who pronounces our name in that special way, “Leh-tee-see-ah.” Our relationship has been based on sharing since our first encounter at a “paper flower” workshop at Global Gallery in the early 2000s. Vazquez has been committed to cultural sharing since her arrival to this city.
As an energetic kid with a penchant for science and math, Nathali Bertran dreamt of building a spaceship and visiting the moon. Her current job isn’t lightyears away from this either. She now builds more terrestrial machines as a design engineer for Honda R&D Americas in Raymond, Ohio. In addition to engineering cars, Bertran is also part of a team working to streamline and simplify the process of applying for DACA (that’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) status that allows recipients to attend public universities and garner U.S. work authorization.
Dr. Jesus J. Lara works to create spaces that promote general well-being and contentment. As he puts it, he is in the business of “making people happy” by improving their surrounding environment. As an associate professor and Master’s Program Chair in the Knowlton School’s City and Regional Planning Section, Lara focuses his research and teaching practice on sustainable design while minding the relationship between people and space. Part of his studies considers how Latinos revitalize de-industrialized communities – both adapting to and transforming their surrounding environment.
The Ohio Commission on Hispanic/Latino Affairs (OCHLA) is one of longest-standing Latino serving organizations in the state. Founded in 1977, OCHLA seeks to advise, to connect, and to build the Latino community throughout Ohio. As OCHLA’s Community Liaison, Lair Marin-Marcum is making lasting connections between entrepreneurs, community, and institutions to improve Latino lives locally and state-wide.