Metiche or metichi, the Spanish adjective that negatively describes a person as meddlesome or nosey, is not usually a flattering compliment. In my Mexican culture, I was regularly reprimanded as a young girl for being a metiche, as my constant curiosity and people-watching habit would find me staring, when in public. To date, I cannot read or work out in public as my fascination for my fellow beings is simple intense. However, don’t take it as a critical judgment, it is an admiration for the human condition and diverse perspective. So, yes, I continue to be a strong example of what it is to be a constructive metiche, with a genuine motive for awareness and understanding. Therefore, when invited to Latino community engagements I clear my calendar in order to attend these public events and be the best metiche possible.
Recently I was invited to the first community engagement initiative held by the Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley. The goal of this community engagement was to examine the issues that are most important to the Silicon Valley’s Latino community and to activate a broad segment of the local Latino community to bring about positive change. Nuestro Futuro, the initiative of the Hispanic Foundation, “builds upon the Silicon Valley Latino Report Card which evaluated various key indicators around five quality of life areas: health, education, environmental sustainability, housing, and financial stability.” With a B in Health, a C in Education, a C in Environmental Sustainability, a D in Housing, and a D in Financial Stability, the grades could use much improvement, hence Nuestro Futuro.
Nuestro Futuro, Our Future, has a lofty ambition of reaching 2000 local Latinos to create channels for greater collaboration to celebrate and promote Latino civic engagement in Silicon Valley. With a grassroots effort to unite immigrants, working class families, professionals, non-profits, and civic leaders, the initiative is seeking to enlist ambassadors and advocates in order to reach these 2000 individuals, and perhaps more. The effort will be led and guided by an Advisory Board representing Latinos in the region and serving as a decision-making body to address the issues that have been identified, as well as those that may certainly arise from this ambitious effort.
In essence, Nuestro Futuro is seeking constructive metiches. Latinos that understand our diverse community, are aware of our community’s issues, able to voice its concerns effectively, and lead in addressing these five quality of life areas with less than desirable evaluations.
The Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley is not the only organization seeking constructive metiches, across the country organizations are leading movements to identity Latino issues that must be addressed and mobilize the community, not only to voice concerns, but also to take action. Being metiches is in our culture, it is a powerful characteristic when used positively to become aware, to understand, and to educate. Other initiatives are searching for you, here are just a few, SA2020 in Texas, United We Dream nationwide, First Priority in Texas, March for Babies nationwide, and Voto Latino nationwide, among others. Choose your passionate concern and become a constructive metiche to initiate the future you want to see. Are you in?
By Being Latino Contributor, Teresa Carbajal Ravet. Teresa is a culturist Spanish linguist and bilingual writer dedicated to the advocacy and promotion of the multicultural experience at www.SententiaVera.com.