What impact do you hope your TEDTalk has on others?
I hope my talk makes people think. I hope people walk away from it realizing what their biases are so that they may change them. I hope that I am able to empower people to be better in their everyday lives, but I also hope to empower Latin American individuals to stand firm in who they are.
People need to see themselves in others so that life isn’t so lonely, but at the end of the day, if representation isn’t there, how can that be achieved?
I hope my talk can motivate people to bridge that gap.
Tell us about a time you navigated self-doubt in your career? Where did you find support?
I work as a Registered Nurse at my local hospital, and time and time again, self-doubt creeps up at the most inconvenient moments. The thing is, working in healthcare is hard, because it’s a profession that directly interacts with people in their most vulnerable moments.
It can be stressful, it can be emotionally draining, and it can breed a lot of self doubt. I will have days where it feels like everything is going wrong; the patient is upset, the doctor is upset, and a million tasks are my responsibility to complete.
Then there are the really great days – the days where I am reminded why I choose to become an RN. In the moments when I ask myself, “why am I doing this,” I find a lot of comfort and support in the staff I have.
I also reflect back on the bigger picture – I wanted to become an RN so that I could represent a broader group of people. There is a gap in the representation that is seen with healthcare professionals, and that needs to change.
I hope I can be a small part in making the difference.
What’s something that’s breaking your heart these days?
I recently learned about the cancellation of the Netflix Original Series One Day at a Time. When I heard this news, I was incredibly upset at the fact that a show portraying the Latinx family experience, would no longer be shown for public viewing.
One Day at a Time was unique in the sense that it showed real experiences and situations that families go though, specifically Latinx families. Often in television and film, Latinx characters are shown as drug dealer, criminals, or just two-dimensional people. One Day at a Time broke that trend, and for once, gave us characters that are actually relatable.
I’m sad to see that the representation One Day at a Time brought will no longer be available, but based on the uproar from viewers who are angry with the decision, I am confident that the world is ready now, more than ever, to welcome correct and accurate Latinx representation onscreen.
What cultural customs have you kept from your upbringing?
Food, music, dancing, football watching. Emphasis on the football! The Uruguayan football team has always been on in my home, which definitely makes me feel closer to my roots just by seeing a reflection of my country.
We also have a phrase “garra charrua,” that emphasizes the importance of not giving up in the face of adversity. My dad always reminds my sisters and I of the “garra charrua” spirit in moments when life gets hard.
What’s the most recent thing you did for self-care?
I often find myself in situations where I am doing too much. Attending too many meetings, joining too may organizations, working too hard; you name it, it feels like I’ve done it. I recognized a trend that was beginning to look like burn out, and I knew something needed to change.
I decided I simply needed to start saying no. Instead of compromising my time for the benefit of others, I started keeping my time for myself.
Now I have more time to focus, meditate, and breathe. I go to therapy twice a month to make sure that my head is clear, and that has helped leaps and bounds.
I would also say that presenting my TEDx talk was a form of self-care. I took the time to go after something I’ve wanted for a while, did it for me, and talked about something that hits home for a lot of people. It was a very cathartic moment.
Learn more about Raquél and connect
Cultural representaton based on stereotypes is still active in the media today, says Raquél Pérez. A member of the Latinx community, she believes our society is more than ready for the media to eliminate this misrepresentation. Raquél Peréz graduated cum laude from URI in 2017 as a first generation bachelor’s degree recipient and earned a BSN. After graduating, Raquél spend the next year as an AmeriCorps member, aiding in affordable housing and currently works as a Registered Nurse at Miriam Hospital.