IDEX Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month – Veronica Couzo
September 16, 2019
IDEX Labor and Employment Counsel Veronica Couzo takes pride in her Hispanic heritage and the sacrifices her family made to create a new life in America. She’s worked with IDEX for a year-and-a-half, and advises business partners on legal risks in employee related matters.
She recently had the opportunity to share her gratitude by teaching 45 summer Legal Institute Scholars about labor and employment law as well as her duties as an IDEX in-house attorney. Hosted by Just the Beginning (JTB) – A Pipeline Organization, the group is dedicated to developing and nurturing interest in the law among young people from various socioeconomic, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds who are largely underrepresented in the legal profession.
With Hispanic Heritage Month running September 15 through October 15, 2019, we asked Veronica a couple of questions about her experience as a Hispanic woman.
Q: Who is your Favorite Latino/a Icon?
A: Although there are so many Latino/a icons that I love (Justice Sotomayor, Jose Marti, and Lin-Manuel Miranda to name a few), following my recent visit to Mexico City and the Frida Kahlo museum –Frida Kahlo is currently my favorite Latina icon. Her tenacity was inspiring. Despite suffering from polio at the age of 8 and breaking her spinal column in a tragic accident at 18, she embraced life to the fullest. In the face of great adversity, she painted and photographed her family, her heritage, and her experiences, which led her to become a globally renowned artist. To this day, she is still the most famous Latina artist in the world. Additionally, she bucked the trends by wearing clothes representative of her heritage, including full skirts, embroidered blouses and regal coiffure. In doing so, she became a fashion icon, and numerous designers, including Jean Paul Gautier, designed dresses inspired by her style. Lastly, born to a Mexican mother and German father, she straddled two distinct cultures, a feeling to which I can relate since my father is Cuban and my mother is Polish.
Q: What does Hispanic Heritage mean to you?
A: Honoring Hispanic heritage means remembering those who paved the way. In my case, it means paying tribute to my grandfather. My grandfather left Cuba in the early 1960s, after he had been imprisoned by the Castro regime, along with many others, for being a member of the press. Although he didn’t speak English and had a successful career in Cuba, he came to the United States and worked as a high school janitor.
He sacrificed his career and left the country he loved in order to provide his family with better opportunities, and for that I will be forever grateful. Hispanic Heritage month also means celebrating our colorful culture filled with delicious food, salsa, merengue, and larger than life personalities.