So this past month I was in Orlando. I was there for the 2016 Latinos in Tech Innovation and Social Media (LATISM) national conference, which this year was themed around the idea of influencers being Agents of Change. It had been a couple of years since I had attended this event, and I can honestly say it was as though I had never left.

Recap: LATISM 2016 in Orlando

With my friend and YouTuber Rocio of RisasRizos

From the camaraderie of being among my peers from all over the country – and even some attendees from Latin America and Puerto Rico, to the important discussions we continued as a community on topics like immigration, education, health, access to technology, and more, reuniting with the LATISM network really felt like being in familia.

I also had the privilege of serving as a speaker. The panel I participated in was titled “American Latinos & Their Role in Multicultural America.” As you might imagine, we discussed the role of our Latino community in the new U.S. mainstream culture, as well as the impact of assimilation and acculturation on our community identities.

Recap: LATISM 2016 in Orlando

My panel at LATISM.

Recap: LATISM 2016 in Orlando

Deep in conversation with the audience.

It was a great conversation. For me, the best part was listening to everyone’s perspective on their own relationship to their culture and identity. It’s something I often think about on an ongoing basis.

And going back to the idea of influencers being Change Agents, I think that was a very poignant message. Especially given the current political climate and the next four years that so many in our community are concerned about.

I think for me it was definitely a good reminder about why we started the Juan of Words journey to begin with. It was never about becoming a business – although I’m not complaining that it has. It was and still is about creating a positive space to celebrate our own culture in our own way. I’m glad I made this trip, and I’m glad I was able to truly listen to what other Latino Change Agents had to say.

Our best moments are definitely ahead.

Recap: LATISM 2016 in Orlando

The beautiful Disney Coronado Springs Resort where LATISM 2016 was held.

Recap: LATISM 2016 in Orlando

A bunch of us who were there from Houston representing our city!

Recap: LATISM 2016 in Orlando

Hanging out at the gala with Lizza of xoxolizza.

Recap: LATISM 2016 in Orlando

My buddy and Tejana Vianney of Sweet Life Bake!