Conference encourages Hispanic success

By Sandra Masibay

Students, representatives, speakers and volunteers all participated last Friday and Saturday in the annual Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement (HACE) conference.

The HACE conference, which was held at the Chicago Hilton and Towers in downtown Chicago, is the eighth HACE conference to date. The purpose of the alliance since its founding in 1982, is to provide career, educational and professional growth for the advancement of the Hispanic community.

Each conference contains an agenda that lists companies, university representatives and speakers allowing students to make contacts and gain information about the respective company or university of their interest.

Examples of companies and universities in attendance at this years conference are Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Illinois, the McDonald’s Corporation, Ameritech, Cellular One, Coca-Cola USA, the University of Chicago, Loyola University, DePaul University and the University of Iowa Graduate College. There were a total of 91 exhibitors.

“The conference was very helpful. It is good to have that many employers in one place instead of having to run around. It reduces the legwork,” said Isette Rodriguez, NIU Organizational Management Information Systems major.

Company representatives were also on hand to offer advice. “We are looking for individuals with a four-year degree, people-oriented, goal-oriented individuals. We want employees who aren’t afraid of making decisions,” said Mark Burry, a J.C. Penney representative.

One of the highlights of the Saturday presentation was the speech by Sociology Professor Samuel Betances.

Betances earned both a masters and doctorate at Harvard University and has been teaching sociology for the past 18 years at Northeastern University.

Betances spoke to the audience on his life, experience and insights.

One of the issues Betances addressed was that of identity and the ability to be comfortable with it.

“Are you comfortable with the way you look? If you are constantly obsessed with not going to the beach. You think your lips are too big, you think your skin is too dark? Am I being a little too rough? Do you understand what I am saying?” Betances said.

“We are blends that reflect the reality of who we are. We are many colors. We cannot divide ourselves among racial lines. It is about time that we taught America the Latino people are a rainbow people who can be role models for the rest of the country,” he said.

Betances also addressed the issues of giving homosexuals respect, getting rid of machismo in an effort to work with female partners and changing negative stereotypes within the media.