Ever noticed how specific experiences in our upbringing become the catalysts for the career choices we make as adults? This was definitely the case for me when I started Be Moore, my interpreting agency and maybe it was the same for you. Can you recall the moment(s) something happened that drastically influenced your career choices?
The creation of Be Moore Interpreting resulted from my experiences growing up in a Puerto Rican household as a first-generation American. Like many other Latinx-Americans living in bi-cultural and bilingual homes, I used my language abilities to interpret and translate for my family, friends, or anyone who faced a language barrier in front of me. So what began as a way for my family to survive led me to an almost 20-year career as a bilingual advocate within local nonprofits and eventually to the creation of Be Moore Interpreting.
One of my earliest memories of serving as an interpreter was when I walked into the Department of Human Services building to help my mother apply for benefits. I was seven-years-olds then, and it was the first time we ever needed SNAP benefits. My mother didn’t know any English, and as I remember, the clerk was visibly and increasingly annoyed by this. So, after several uncomfortable exchanges, I mustered up enough courage to ask if someone else could help us. .
That was the first time I also had to advocate. Naturally, I pursued a career in human services after this unpleasant experience because it made me realize that others may encounter this type of discrimination. I’ve advocated for folks like my mother ever since.
After working close to two decades in various capacities in human services, I decided it was time to leverage my skills to extend my service reach, so in 2016 I founded Be Moore Interpreting. I understood that many in my community share similar stories, and unfortunately, situations like mine and my mother’s are still commonplace. There are still children having to navigate adult spaces because interpreters are not commonly present.
The COVID-19 pandemic has also taught us that language accessibility could be the difference between life and death, a lesson I hope we don’t ever forget. In order for our community to continue to be safe and thrive, we need to ensure that everyone is clear as to what is happening around them and how to address it. That requires interpretation and translation services for everyone.
And that’s why I still feel it's my responsibility to help those who are trying to navigate a new world with limited language accessibility.
Here's a picture of her with her kids on our last Christmas with her. From left to right, my mom (Anita), Tio Ivan, Abuela Viña and Tity Mary
This Post Is Dedicated to my grandmother, Abuela Viña
“For this National Hispanic Heritage Month, I want to honor my greatest role model, my grandmother, Abuela Viña. My grandmother only achieved a 2nd grade education but left her schooling to work as housekeeper at a hospital and provide for her family. She was the most caring and hardest-working person I’ve ever known! I admired her commitment to her family, always putting us first. It was through her endless prayers and sacrifice that my generation could soar and accomplish all that she hoped her family could do! I am her wildest dream!”
Shirley X Moore