WACO, TX — Since 1975, the Cen-Tex Hispanic Chamber of Commerce has pushed to bridge the gap and address the needs of the Hispanic community.
From the music to the food and even the language, the Hispanic culture is unique and spreads out throughout the country.
"Being born in the U.S. but the blood that flows inside of me is Mexican 100% so I am very proud of my roots," said Jonathan Olvera, Secretary of the Cen-Tex Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
The chamber strives to unite the community by promoting the economic, educational and social development of the business community.
"We get to work with the folks who are making the difference, so what do we do, we address their needs and we stay in tune with what is happening in the market place," said Alfred Solano, President/CEO of the Cen-Tex Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
Solano was a member of the chamber for over a decade before taking on his current role. He says as the years pass, it's the members who keep the chamber thriving.
"The real owners of this organization are the members. I work for the membership, and it's important to remember that the members drive what our work is," he said.
Daisy Barrera, member of the chamber, is the owner of 25th Furniture Store. She says her local business is booming because of the networking provided by the chamber.
"It's amazing, especially with COVID-19. I get a lot of support from Alfred. He calls me and checks on the business and is always asking if we need anything that the chamber can do for us," she said.
Board member Hermann Periara says the sense of belonging unites everyone, regardless of their background.
"Understanding how important all of our voices are, whatever table we are sitting at, as a first generation and child of immigrants, it's important for my voice to be out there," said Periara.
Bridget Heins, also a board member, says the chamber awarded her with a scholarship back in 1990. She says that scholarship was the difference between going to college or not.
"Without this chamber that would not have been a possibility. As an adult and serving in the community, when I was asked to join this chamber, in my mind the chamber acted as an advocate for education and that was proof in my life," said Heins.
She says the chamber is a great way for the community to unite and support one another.
The chamber hopes to continue helping as many people as they can. They also want to remind people that they do not have to be Hispanic to reach out.