I am the daughter of Dominican and Puerto Rican immigrants. I was raised in Inwood, New York, a neighborhood which is now affectionately known as “Little Dominican Republic”. Growing up, I had a strong connection to my identity as a Latina. From my father’s Puerto Rican side, I learned to dance through the streets of Dyckman blasting reggaetón and developed a healthy appreciation for mofongo (although my Dominican side could never let go of mangú). From my mother’s Dominican side, I learned the meaning of pa’lante (keep moving forward) and the power of celebrating community via bachata and block parties.
Coming from a low-income home, I didn’t grow up with the newest consoles. However, I loved gaming and spent hours playing Pokémon Sapphire on my Game Boy Advance and Flash games on our family computer. I also developed a love for tabletop role-playing games and still enjoy running games for my friends. In high school, I got into competitive gaming and in college, I founded my college’s first video game club and collegiate league. Now, as a Business Manager for Xbox Game Studios Publishing, I enjoy connecting my passions to making games even my cousins in Ponce, Puerto Rico, can enjoy.
It wasn’t until more recently that I understood my heritage as an Afro-Latina, a person with both African and Latino ancestry. Modern media represents Latinos as a unified monolith, summed up by salsa dancing and sugar skull decorations. However, Latinos, even within the same country and community, can experience vastly different realities based solely on the color of their skin. I had to work to understand and discover my African roots, as it has historically been suppressed even within my community. As I continue to explore what it means to be Afro-Latina in the context of America, I look to the curly afros in diverse character creation screens. I love that video games give me an opportunity to show that I am unapologetically proud of who I am and that my culture, the brown color of my skin, and my natural hair are not add-ons or DLC to my identity, but core.
Here are a few ways that Team Xbox will be supporting Hispanic and Latino communities and recognizing Hispanic Heritage this year:
Gaming and Impact with Microsoft Rewards
Microsoft Rewards members in the United States can earn and donate points to organizations supporting Hispanic communities with Xbox. The organizations below will be featured on console throughout September and October:
- Hispanic Heritage Foundation – Hispanic Heritage Foundation’s mission focuses on education, workforce, identity, and social impact through the lenses of leadership and culture.
- CARE – CARE works around the globe to save lives, defeat poverty, and achieve social justice in 100 countries including Latin America and the Caribbean.
Xbox gamers can earn Rewards points in various ways, such as playing games and completing Game Pass Quests, completing offers in the Microsoft Rewards app on Xbox, and select purchases at the Microsoft Store (exclusions apply). Earn points and redeem them for real rewards. Join us today and donate through Xbox.
Enhance Representation and Engage in Learning with Minecraft Education
We’re excited to announce that students will have another opportunity to see themselves and their cultures represented in LatinExplorers 2, a new world from Minecraft Education. It is available now in the Minecraft Education lesson library and launching for Minecraft: Bedrock Edition players for FREE in Minecraft Marketplace next week. (Requires Minecraft: Bedrock Edition, sold separately.)
Step into the world of three wonderful women who rose to the challenge of making the world a better place. In this new, immersive world created in partnership with the Hispanic Heritage Foundation, players will explore the journeys of three new powerful Hispanic mentors – Gloria Estefan, the Cuban-American singer who never gave up, Dr. Ellen Ochoa, the first Hispanic woman to go to space, and Monica Ramirez, a powerful social activist and attorney who works tirelessly in women’s rights. These mentors encourage players to embrace similar perseverance, kindness, creativity, and leadership as they walk toward the future, as well as showcase powerful narratives of women changemakers who have overcome adversity to not only transform their own lives but have dedicated their lives to uplifting others!
This is the continuation of last year’s LatinExplorers, also created in partnership with the Hispanic Heritage Foundation. Between the two games we have turned six inspiring Latino leaders into Minecraft characters to empower, guide, and equip young people to become changemakers.
“Minecraft is one of the games that we encourage our kids to play because they can explore, learn, and collaborate with other friends. We saw the opportunity to showcase real-world Hispanic heroes utilizing one of the world’s most popular games—and one in which my children love to play—to reach a new generation of leaders.” – Antonio Tijerino, President and CEO of the Hispanic Heritage Foundation
Explore Games Curated by Hispanic and Latino Communities at Microsoft
It’s powerful to see and celebrate the contributions, achievements, and experiences that the Hispanic and Latino communities bring to gaming. We are highlighting the voices that bring a rich and vibrant history to life through authentic storytelling and inspired creativity.
During September and beyond, we are featuring a variety of game collections spanning Hispanic and Latino creators, playable characters, and titles influenced by Hispanic and Latino cultures. Available on the Microsoft Stores on Xbox and Windows, check out the Hispanic and Latino community games collection that exists year-round as part of our ongoing work to create more inclusive gaming ecosystems and elevate content that resonates with communities. For Xbox Game Pass members, check out the Xbox Game Pass Hispanic community collection and the PC Game Pass Hispanic community collection.
Featured titles within the collections include:
Just Cause 4: Reloaded (Available with Xbox Game Pass on Console, PC, and Cloud, Rated M) – Protagonist Rico Rodriguez is the heart of this action-packed series. With endless tasks in an open world of chaos, Rico’s Afro-Latino heritage is heavily depicted throughout the story of the franchise.
Valorant (Available with PC Game Pass) – Riot Game’s fast-growing 5v5 character-based tactical shooter features a diverse character lineup. Playable agents include Reyna – a duelist from Mexico, and Gekko – a Mexican-American initiator from East Los Angeles. The personal backgrounds of these characters were crafted with care, including research interviews and collaborating with the characters’ Latin American voice actors.
Aztech Forgotten Gods (Available on Console) – From Mexico-based Lienzo, creators of Mulaka, comes a new game rich in lore. Play as Achtli, a young Mesoamerican woman in a far alternative future where the Aztecs were never colonized, as she battles colossal Gods based on the wealth of Aztec mythology.
Sid Meier’s Civilization VI (Available on Console, PC, and Cloud) – Civilization VI is a turn-based strategy game in which you attempt to build an empire to stand the test of time. Based in historical roots, this game includes Brazilian, Aztec, Mayan and Incan civilizations as playable factions, each of which represents a historical nation, empire or cultural group.
Artist Catalina Estrada Shares Her Inspiration for the Xbox Logo Redesign
In recognition of Hispanic Heritage Month, Xbox commissioned artist Catalina Estrada to design the artwork for this year’s campaign. Catalina is a Colombian illustrator and pattern designer living in Barcelona. She expressed her cultural heritage through the diversity of the rainforest which houses a myriad of cultures, species, and ecosystems to create a unified whole. The vibrant flora in the illustration represents not only the lush beauty of nature, but also the colorful traditions, art, and contributions of her community. Each swirl of color is an homage to the folklore, traditions, and stories that have shaped her Colombian and broader Hispanic identity. She is also inspired by cultural values of kinship and resilience. “Hispanic Heritage, to me, is a vibrant and ever-evolving celebration of diversity, unity, and the enduring beauty of our culture. It’s a time to pay homage to our ancestors, embrace our traditions, and create art that reflects the richness of our heritage,” Catalina reflects.
Check out more of Catalina’s work on her website.
Xbox Ambassadors Feature Stories about Hispanic and Latino Representation in Gaming
The Xbox Ambassadors Program is excited to spotlight several Xbox Ambassadors this Hispanic Heritage Month. Spotlighted Ambassadors shared what gaming means to them, how gaming connects with their heritage, and which games and franchises they connect with the most. Check out part of our spotlight of Elder Elgin below and head over to the Xbox Ambassadors blog to see more featured Ambassadors.
Spotlight on Elder Elgin, Xbox Ambassador
What does gaming mean to you?
From the early days of playing simple 2D platformers to immersing myself in vast open-world adventures, gaming has been a canvas upon which I’ve painted countless stories. It’s a realm where I’ve triumphed over challenges that seemed insurmountable and faced defeats that taught me resilience. Each game is a unique universe, a chance to step into someone else’s shoes or to become the hero of my own epic saga.
How does gaming connect to your heritage?
Gaming has become a platform for connection and representation. Hispanic game developers have been making their mark on the industry, creating games that reflect vibrant culture and unique stories. By supporting and engaging with these creators, I’ve not only celebrated their accomplishments but also contributed to the growth of Hispanic presence in the global gaming scene. Additionally, gaming has provided a space for me to connect with fellow Hispanics who share a passion for the virtual worlds I love to explore. Whether it’s through online communities, local gaming events, or simply bonding over shared gaming experiences, I’ve formed connections that transcend borders and languages, united by our common love for games. In essence, while gaming might not be an intrinsic part of traditional Hispanic heritage, it has become a channel through which I’ve embraced my identity as a Hispanic. It has allowed me to engage with diverse narratives, connect with like-minded individuals, and contribute to the evolving landscape of gaming on a global scale. I’ve found a way to weave my love for games into the vibrant tapestry of my heritage.
New Gamerpics, Profile Theme, and Avatar Items for Hispanic Heritage Month
In partnership with Hispanic and Latino communities at Xbox, we’re introducing a new gamerpic, profile theme, avatar items, and wallpaper! Get your avatar items here andyour wallpaper here. Content is subject to availability by country.