Hispanic Heritage Month Employee Spotlights: Bianca “Mo” McGrath-Martinez
This Hispanic Heritage Month, members of the Latinx, Hispanic, and Multicultural Employee Resource Group at National Wildlife Federation are coming together to share our stories — in our own words. Join us as we explore the complexities of our identities throughout the month.
Name: Bianca “Mo” or “Modesta” McGrath-Martinez
Position: Program Manager for Hispanics Enjoying Camping, Hunting, and the Outdoors
What interests you about conservation?
What interests me about conservation is the people aspect of the work. I like thinking about land, water, and wildlife – but most importantly, I like thinking about the history of land, water, and wildlife and how that pertains to humanity and culture. I am very interested in conceptualizing how we can protect both under the umbrella of conservation.
How would you describe your cultural identity? How do you identify yourself? Why?
I identify as Latinx, Boricua, POC, WOC, a multi-racial white person, a multicultural person, mixed, Irish. I identify as Latinx because I appreciate the non-gendered version of Latino/a. I use the x because I am not a native Spanish speaker and Latinx vs Latine makes more sense for me as an English-speaking Latinx person. I identify as a multi-racial white or mixed person because I come from European, Indigenous, and African lineage but have white skin. I am Boricua because my mother’s family comes from Ponce, Puerto Rico, or, as the Taino people called it, Boriken. I am Irish because my dad’s grandparents emigrated from Ireland to New York.
How did you end up at the National Wildlife Federation?
I have a friend I connected with over the past couple of years. We are both Latinx and were located in Colorado together and had a lot of the same feelings about working in conservation as POC and Latinx people. He sent me the job posting for HECHO, which stuck out to me immediately. I did not really understand that I would be a part of the National Wildlife Federation until later in the interview process. I sort of ended up here without realizing it.
What does Hispanic Heritage Month mean to you?
Hispanic Heritage Month is a time for celebration, but for me, it is mostly a time for reflection. I do not use the word Hispanic to identify myself. I am on a lifelong journey to decolonize myself and the Hispanic word keeps us tied to the colonizers and white supremacy. This does not mean that I ignore my Spanish/white heritage, but I am actively trying to remember and keep alive my Indigenous and African lineage.
What is one thing you want others to know about Latinidad?
Within Latinidad, we are also fighting to dismantle white supremacy, colonization, racism, sexism, and colorism.