National Hispanic Heritage Month – Somos Familia

Hispanic Heritage

Lidia Soto-Harmon with girls at Encuentro, our Council’s annual leadership conference for Latinas.

By Lidia Soto-Harmon, CEO Girl Scouts Nation’s Capital

As we celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month, let’s reflect on the contributions so many Latinas have made to make this world a better place. As a Latina and CEO of Girl Scouts Nation’s Capital, I am proud that my work embraces diversity and fosters an environment for all girls to succeed. I know that I am in a unique position. Girl Scouts gives me a vehicle to help others. I am able to break down barriers and inspire young Latinas. Justice Sonia Sotomayor, in her book My Beloved World says, “The dynamism of any diverse community depends not only on the diversity itself but on promoting a sense of belonging among those who formerly would have been considered and felt themselves outsiders.”

Because of the tireless support of our volunteers, Girl Scouts provides a safe space for all girls to pursue their interests, develop their confidence and lead.  This year we celebrate the Girl Scout family in a new campaign we call We are FamilySomos Familia!  I recognize how important the family is to Girl Scouts and in the Latina community.

Like many of the girls I mentor in Girl Scouts, my own mother overcame adversity to create a better life for herself and her family.

Lidia and her mother

Lidia and her mami

As my mother celebrates her 80th birthday this month, I am reminded of her story of triumph as a young Latina woman. She came to this county when she was 27 years old.  She tells the story of taking a Greyhound bus from Miami to Atlanta with barely enough money to buy a sandwich for the 12 hour ride where she would meet my father.  She left Cuba in search of a better future for her family, received her visa in Havana, just three days before the United States and Cuba ceased all diplomatic relations.  She is a gifted writer and nurturing parent to our family, and she uses her quiet personality to dedicate herself to others.  I have always felt that her story of triumph over difficult circumstances has been a useful compass in my life.  If my mother could come to a land where she didn’t speak the language and have the boldness to dream bigger than her upbringing in a small town in Camaguey, I surely can have the strength to go forward and help others to make the world a better place.

Thank you mami, you continue to inspire me. And thank you Girl Scout family, your tireless devotion to helping girls makes it possible for a world that accepts and includes everyone. Somos Familia!