September 15th began Hispanic Heritage Month, a time to recognize the contributions made by Hispanic/LatinX innovators, artists and scholars, and to celebrate Hispanic heritage and culture.

Growing up in rural Illinois, my first exposure to Hispanic influences was through the written word. Gabriel Garcia Marquez burst into my world with his lyrical, “Love in the Time of Cholera.”  More recently, I’ve found myself immersed in worlds created by Isabelle Allende, who reminds us to always write the tale of our lives with “big adjectives.”

When I moved west at 19, I was introduced to the multi-cultural mosaic that is Los Angeles – from El Pueblo de Los Angeles, the cradle of L.A., to Olvera Street, the outdoor Mexican marketplace.  From food to music to local festivals, L.A. was a vibrant tribute to Hispanic heritage and influences.

The depth and breadth of the burgeoning US Hispanic community is often under-estimated.  GDP produced by Hispanics/LatinX in the U.S. was $2.13T in 2015 with 4.23M Hispanic businesses generating almost $700B in revenue, including $61.2B in revenue from female-owned firms.  And Hispanics/LatinX have ever-increasing political clout.  More than 29M are eligible to vote and nearly 1M turn 18 each year.  By some estimates, the Hispanic Population in the US will reach 111M by 2060.

As we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, I’m proud and excited to share that, this year, AT&T joined other companies in signing The Hispanic Promise – a national pledge to hire, promote, retain and celebrate Hispanics in the workplace. We have nearly 65,000 Hispanic/LatinX employees as part of our AT&T family. You can hear directly from some of my dedicated and talented colleagues here as they share inspiring and heartwarming stories on what Hispanic Heritage Month means to them.

And to recognize our employees, our customers and our friends, we recently launched “A Ti y a Ti” (Ah-tee-E-Ah-tee) – for you and you, or to you and you, which reflects our commitment to the Hispanic/LatinX community. For more than 50 years, we have proudly served the community with in-communication entertainment and customer support services, as well as through volunteering and on-the-ground community outreach and support. You can learn more here and also follow the conversation at #atiyati and #att. Or, better yet, come join us on Saturdays and Sundays at one of the many cafecitos we have set up across the country.

So, as we mark mid-way through Hispanic Heritage Month, muchas gracias, mis amigos.

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