Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated every year from September 15 to October 15. During this month, we honor the incredible contributions of Hispanic Americans to the history, culture, and achievements of the United States.
For Hispanic Heritage Month, we are celebrating some of our amazing Hispanic staff members here at Luminus!
Mar Pura Flores Ortega
Meet Mar Pura Flores Ortega, the newest member of the Luminus team! Mar is originally from Lima, Peru. She has a master’s degree in social politics and sustainable development from the University of Bologna in Italy, where she studied as an international student.
Mar was an international intern in Italy, where she worked on social inclusion projects for immigrants from various parts of East Europe, Africa, and South America. Mar is fluent in English, Spanish, and Italian!
After graduation, Mar worked as an environmental lawyer, defending natural resources and the rights of citizens. However, once she met her American husband, she decided to change course and pursue her dreams in the United States with him.
Since moving to the U.S., Mar has worked as an immigration intern at a non-profit organization that provides immigration legal services. Now, Mar is the front desk attendant and intake coordinator for Luminus.
Mar’s favorite place in Peru is the north, which has beautiful beaches such as Tumbes and Piura, including Mancora and Punta Sal. She loves spending time on the beaches and watching the sunset.
There are many things Mar loves about Peru. She loves traditional Peruvian dishes such as Lomo Saltado and pan con chicharron and musica criolla (Peruvian folk music).
She loves the way Peru celebrates Christmas and New Year’s, with family parties, hot chocolate, panettone, roasted turkey, and fireworks. Some people even choose to celebrate New Year’s at the beach party. Mar visits Peru every year, because all her family lives in Lima.
Grecia Perez, one of our economic empowerment interns, is one of the most impressive members of our team. She is a sophomore at Emory University, pursuing a double major in international studies and quantitative sciences with economics, following a pre-law track. Grecia earned a prestigious QuestBridge Scholarship, which covers the full cost of attending Emory, and she is passionate about helping other students achieve their goals of attending university.
During her four months at Luminus, Grecia successfully pitched and started a mentorship program matching high school students and individuals who can help guide them toward their goals.
Grecia was born in Venezuela, where she lived until she was 14 years old. In 2017, her family moved to Santiago, Chile, and they lived for three years. In January 2021, they moved to Maryland, where Grecia graduated high school.
There are many things Grecia loves about Venezuela, but some of the things she loves the most are the food and the weather. Grecia eats arepas, which are round grilled corn patties often served with cheese, butter, or cut open and filled with savory ingredients, for breakfast almost every day. The nice thing about Venezuelan weather is that there are only really two seasons—the dry season and the rainy season. Grecia loved always knowing what the weather would be and knowing she could go to the beach any time she wanted.
It has been many years since Grecia has visited Venezuela, but she still misses her house there and will always consider it her home. Grecia’s family is scattered all around the world, so although she does not visit Venezuela frequently her family gathers as often as they can. When they’re together, Grecia feels as though nothing has changed.
Luminus clients always welcome the chance to work with Lucy Reyna. An immigration paralegal, Lucy has worked with Luminus for just over a year. She helps clients understand the complicated US system and fill out naturalization and citizenship applications.
A long-time resident of the US, Lucy emigrated here when she was just 11. She comes from Cortazar Guanajuato in South Central Mexico. Although she has lived in the US since 1995, Lucy still thinks of Cortazar Guanajuato as her “real” home. She and her family travel there every other year to visit friends and family and to relive childhood memories. While tourists come from all over the world to enjoy Mexico’s beautiful beaches and rich cultural life, Lucy chooses to spend her Mexican vacations in her hometown.
What are her special memories of Cortazar Guanajuato? Lucy loved (and still loves) the enchiladas her mother makes. And she particularly remembers a very special Mexican holiday, Dia del Nino, “Kid Day,” held every year on April 30th. “Mexico celebrates children like nowhere else,” says Lucy. Schools, community organizations, churches, and families spend the day celebrating kids with magic shows, games, parades, free food, free ice cream, and free toys. It is a magic day for children.