Hi everyone, I’m Victoria Zarate and I’m a senior this year. I am double majoring in Journalism and Strategic Communication with minors in Creative Writing and Gender Studies. I am interning at the Hispanic Heritage Cultural Institute this semester. My responsibilities include developing social media content, writing press releases, developing a fundraiser campaign, updating the HHCI website, interviewing community members, and attending events with the Project Chairman as well as the Communications Director.

Originating as the Hispanic Heritage Council of WNY, the institute itself is now in the pre-construction phase of planning and designing with hopes of the building being finalized in 2024. The institute will include a gallery, theater, cafe, media lab, and much more. The HHCI will be the first of its kind in Western New York and I am really grateful to be a part of this process.

I have been very excited to start my internship as connecting to and uplifting the Hispanic community is something I am very passionate about. Being Mexican, it’s sometimes hard to feel like I belong or am represented in certain spaces, so being involved in this project is very special to me. I want to be that representation for other Hispanic youth, working to preserve and share our culture.

As we are in the early stages of forming the institute, my position is virtual and I have been doing research on other institutes similar to ours to understand how to better meet the needs of our community. I have also been gathering information on fundraising initiatives as well as how to improve our current communication plan. I am lucky to be working with wonderful people that have been so warm and welcoming. I am thrilled to be a part of Hispanic history in Buffalo and am looking forward to the much needed change we are bringing to Western New York.