is a monthly column that appears in print, digitally, and now
live on air. Monthly features
center around women listed on our
state wide latina exclusive business directory.
What is culture?- To me - it's a shared set of experiences and the values driven from those
experiences. What’s it worth? Whelp – mostly usually oppression lol factually speaking
of course. The fun parts are- lots of times- food, shared music, song and art, some
interesting stories, unique yet athletic or sports like games, and then there’s government
and religion – aforementioned.
Latinos, who are we? What is our culture? How many of us are there? And who “Counts”?
We are but one people separated by constructed privileges, a couple oceans and rivers,
and connected by technology and we all love el bad bunny (I don’t care what you say).
Further, our latino culture is shared by people whose experiences span such polarized
degrees of privilege- that it blows my mind. How such keen injustice exist within culture I
wonder- and ok tic tok.
Today injustice in this country and (others) is so, that I can have the very same
name (+) , the very same everything as another woman (+) but if by a randomized act of god,
she is born outside of the United States(-), = our lives are measured differently.
name kept I am a citizen and she’s not two different social realities – that’s undeniable.
There is a girl whose last name is Rodriguez (same as mine) sitting in a cell
somewhere because she was born on the WRONG side of an invisible line or the tracks
and had the common sense to run for it. Is that fair?
Is it my culture to accept that? Is it ok to say that is haunts me?
It’s the way the numbers work that I’m on the outside
and she’s on the inside.
Scary thing of all is - we might even have the same dreams.
Maybe even agree on religion and like the same food. But because it benefits some
folx- they try to make it seem like (+me and her + ) – we are different. They want me to believe that we don’t have the same culture and trick
me into wanting to lock her up.
Nope. Not I. When I close my eyes the days, I feel the
worst for myself I close my eyes and think about that girl.
I wont support “culture” that doesn’t count such women and me in the same deck. Just
cus Im half white and born in the United States doesn’t make me more deserving of
liberty – way that I see it. You’ve got to believe in liberty to be brave – because if not-
what are you fighting for?
Who are brave people in a culture?
Brave people ask themselves that too? And the bravest of all, answer their own
question in the worst way- in a way that causes themselves to have to act. Amber
Martinez is a brave and complicated. She is a leader because she creates community
(at whose foundation is coalition building) – which itself it a challenging enterprise. Why
do some build communities? Answering for myself to myself- it because they know the
feeling of being alone.
Anyone who can make It in small town USA and in the city has got my respect. You’ve
got to two have two different types of Moxy – on call- for both the country and the city in
New York State, Amber’s got em. The type of “gotem” that made her a welcome guest
in Croatia -finding herself making friends she could keep for a lifetime, a million miles
away from home and impromptu ambassador for the Latino community. After 20 years
or so in Buffalo she calls here home.
What is her business? She is one of the co-curators of the brand La Kultura in her
words “we chose that name for what it means: The Culture”. Explaining: “We are one
and we will be the ones to set the tone for what creating unity looks like.”
Amber Martinez- Her role? to unify communities around spaces centered around
freedom of identity. Freedom of identity, the freedom to shed your culture born or not
and and or to assume another, to leave freer than before, if you so choose.
Read Amber’s Interview, follow her brand and accept we are all in constant states of
transformation and growth and that’s part of our culture too.
Where were you born and what values were taught in your home?
Well I was born in a small town in NY with my mother and brother. Some of
the values that stick out at a young age are respect, discipline and responsibility.
2. What was your experience like as a student?
My college experience was interesting. When I first went to college, my first
semester was a realization that I was not ready or prepared for what college had in
store. By my second semester, I dropped out and started my first full time job at
DD. It took 4 years to find my way back into college. I started back up at ECC
and graduated with my Associates degree in Liberal Arts. By this time, I took a
year off to focus on a sales position. After the year, I decided to sign back up for
school and started my journey to receive my bachelor’s degree in Business
Administration. It was a little hard connecting with other students at that time
because I was 5 – 6 years older than the students in my class. I decided before I
graduated, I wanted to do an abroad program to meet people with the same
interests. At first, I was being denied for abroad programs. Then I took an
International Marketing class and the professor was promoting an abroad Spring
break trip to Croatia. I wasn’t convinced but signed up anyway. I ended being
accepted into the program my last semester in college. Long story short, it was a
life changing experience and that opportunity helped develop relationships with
the students on that trip who I still speak to, even in today's light of life.
3. What was your first job?
My first job out of high school was with Dunkin Donuts (DD). Working in a
fast food environment is not easy but I was determined to do the best I could in
the position as an employee. My work paid off and within 6 months I was offered
a shift supervisor position running my own shifts. I did the same thing with the
shift supervisor position and within a year, I was offered my own store to manage.
Throughout my time at DD I ran 4 different stores. It was at DD I gained more
interest in business.
4. How do you define a businessperson?
A businessperson to me is someone who doesn’t conform to the norm.
Business minded individuals see outside of the box and strive to make changes.
Getting comfortable with being uncomfortable, with the challenges and the
consistent changing world we live in is an important part of being a successful
5. Why did you decide to open your business?
I’ve lived in Buffalo for over 2 decades. Since I’ve been here, the well-known
businesses in Buffalo that are Latin based do not work together. The way I see it,
if the community sees businesses within the community working together, they
set the tone for the community on what it means to be united and supporting one
another. We’re here to do just that.
6. What is your theory on human potential?
Human potential is limitless. If one is willing to put in the work and heal and
be present, one can do and be anything they want to be.
7. What is the most important thing you have learned along the way?
Life has taught me the only way to get to the success you want is to believe in
yourself and to put yourself first in anything and everything you do.
8. What is your remedy after a hard day?
When a hard day arises, I like to put on soothing music, run a bath, eat my
favorite foods and smoke a joint.
9. What are your business values?
Our business values are surrounded by passion, community development and
collaboration. We’re passionate about helping unite our community once again.
Finding new innovative ways to help rebuild. Create more opportunities for our
people through community development and showing our community when
we collaborate with other businesses thriving to make our community better, will
show others what working together can achieve.
10. What is the name of your business and why?
Our brand name is La Kultura. We chose that name for what it means: The
Culture. We are one and we will be the ones to set the tone for what creating unity