So says Juvencio Rocha Peralta, who recently presided over the 7th annual AMEXCAN Community Leadership awards. AMEXCAN, otherwise known as the Association of Mexicans in North Carolina, works to support and uplift the Latinx community throughout the state.
Peralta has served as full-time executive director of the organization for the past five years.
AMEXCAN’s mission sits close to Peralta’s heart, as his story echoes the narrative of many people of Mexican descent who have found their way to North Carolina in the last half decade.
Peralta was only a teenager when he made the journey from Veracruz state on Mexico’s eastern coast to eastern North Carolina, where he worked first as an agricultural worker, picking tobacco, cucumbers and sweet potatoes before finding his way through hard work and determination into various human resources positions in the public and private sector.
His personal story, as well as his work in the HR field led naturally into Peralta working with engagement in the Hispanic community. As executive director of AMEXCAN, he sits on several boards, ensuring the Latinx perspective becomes a part of the conversations at hand.
“North Carolina has one of the fastest growing Latino populations in the state. Our voices should be heard,” Peralta said.
Currently, Peralta sits on the board for the NC Rural Center, and is also a part of IEI’s Forum Advisory Committee for our upcoming ReCONNECT Rural and Urban forum, taking place Feb. 11 in Raleigh, the second forum in our ReCONNECT NC series.
Seven leadership awards were presented during AMEXCAN’s Community Leadership Awards, which took place at Pitt Community College in Greenville. Each award focused on individuals or businesses that have lifted up North Carolina’s Latinx community in some sort of way, including youth work, university research and migrant worker engagement.
The night’s winners:
Christy M. Rhodes: Research Partnership
Syntia Santos Dietz: Research Partnership
Belvoir Elementary: Community Partnership
Maritza Mata Betancourt: Rising Leader
Becky Leon: Exemplary Student Partner
Alliance One: Business Partnership
Maria Barajas: Community Leadership