September 15th through October 15th is National Hispanic Heritage month here in the United States, a time to honor the accomplishments, culture, and history of folks whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. Here at Paizo, we’re proud of our Hispanic coworkers, contributors, and community members! We’re taking an extra day to celebrate them and all the amazing work they do. Here’s a few of our awesome contributors.
Luis Loza (he/him), Paizo Developer
I’m of Mexican heritage, but always felt like I wasn’t Mexican enough growing up. I’d get weird looks for being into games or for being loud and goofy. I wasn’t always a quiet child that was into the same things as my parents, relatives, or peers. For a long time, I felt like I wasn’t being Mexican the right way, even though that’s a silly notion. A lot of my best friends growing up were white because it seemed like white people could kind of do whatever they wanted to and at best be written off as weird, rather than “not white enough.” Over the years, I learned part of it was because of boundaries as to where Mexican ended and everything else began. Mexicans did A, B, and C, but not X, Y, and Z. I saw it with a lot of people, not just Mexicans. It could be a heritage thing, a religion thing, a sexuality thing, a gender thing. These invisible boundaries were there, and I was tired of them. I like the things I like and that doesn’t make me less Mexican. Part of the reason I enjoy RPGs is because anyone can do anything they want or be whomever they want. I hope that I can extend a hand to other people to climb past these boundaries with our games. Maybe the next person we help can begin tearing these boundaries down so everyone can be who they want without feeling like they’re not doing it correctly.
Diego Valdez (he/him), Paizo contributor and former Customer Service Representative
My name is Diego. I’ve been around the TTRPG industry in a few ways. You may know me from my time as a customer service representative for Paizo. But I have also done a lot of freelance writing for both Pathfinder and Starfinder! For org play I have written two Starfinder Society scenarios and a quest, and I also have three ACG adventures under my belt. I have a little bit of backmatter in an AP for each Pathfinder and Starfinder. You can also find me as a contributor on Alien Archive 3, Near Space, Starship Operations Manual, Tech Revolution, Gods & Magic, and the soon to be released Absalom, City of Lost Omens.
I come from northern New Mexico, and I am very proud of my Chicano background and heritage. Since I was young learning about it, embracing it, and living it has always been an important part of who and what I am, even now, here in Washington so far from home. Being able to bring more of that into the worlds I write for is something I have really wanted to do. From a Curandera class, to an adventure revolving around novelas, to setting locations with a Nuevo Mejicano style, I hope to bring it all!
Joseph Blomquist (he/him), Paizo Contributor
Hola, my friends. I’m Joseph Blomquist, a Nuyorican writer with a decade or so of freelance work around the game industry. I’ve contributed to MWP’s Smallville RPG and Marvel Heroic Roleplaying lines, to Starfinder Society with 2-21: Illegal Shipment, 3-18: Secrets in Stillness, to Pathfinder Society with the upcoming 4-04: The Devil-Wrought Disappearance, among many other projects. With the exception to some PF2 conversions for Legendary’s fantastic Boricubos: The Lost Isles, my Latino culture hasn’t come up as often in my freelance career as I would have liked—but it has influenced my outlook on business and the perception of Hispanic and Latino cultures in all industries, not just ours.
Twenty-five years ago, I changed my name. To honor my stepfather, I took his name, forsaking the family name I’d borne for twenty years, Rodriguez. Living in New York, where Rodriguez was a more common surname than even Smith, nothing changed. But moving back to Ohio, where I had spent much of my ill-omened teenage years, I saw a marked difference in how I was perceived. It made me reconsider the importance that a simple name could hold over someone’s life. I’ve made it my mission to help grow voices that may have been ignored or passed over in the past because of their name, sex, skin color, or any other element that makes them outside of the “normal.” I haven’t always been successful, but I’ve tried to include every dark-haired, dark-eyed, swarthy individual I could see in my mind’s eye so that others might see themselves. And to live up to the responsibilities of my name, my family, and nuestra historia.
We appreciate all our Hispanic community members, and we invite those who didn’t share their voices as part of this blog to say hi in the comments and share something you’re proud of! We look forward to celebrating you.
Celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month
Monday, October 18, 2021