Remitly Fireside Chat Explores LGBTQ+ and Immigrant Intersectionality

Last updated on August 30th, 2023 at 09:29 am

June was Pride month in the United States. It was also the month when Immigrant Heritage Month is observed and celebrated. At Remitly, we recognized it was an opportunity to learn about the many intersectionalities that exist across and within the LGBTQ+ and immigrant communities.

As we ended the month, we hosted a conversation with community leaders and teammates  to deepen our understanding about LGBTQ+ identities and experiences and reinforce our commitment to inclusivity – in solidarity with our employees and our customers.

We also celebrated Pride by spotlighting just some of our amazing LGBTQ+ employees, which you can read more about here.

To show our support and heighten the visibility of both LGBTQ+ and immigrant communities, we partnered with Intentionalist, a local startup in Seattle, WA. Small businesses are important to the social and economic fabric of our communities and Intentionalist offers an online guide to intentional spending that makes it easy for people to support the diversity of small business owners in local communities. 

Spend with Pride

For Pride month, Intentionalist developed a Spend with Pride campaign.  To show our support for this campaign and the many small businesses in our community, we highlighted small businesses in Seattle on our Instagram and held a fireside chat for our employees with Laura Clise (she/her), Founder & CEO of Intentionalist, and Osbaldo Hernandez (he/him) of Frelard Tamales. This chat was co-hosted by members of our Out @Remitly and First Generation Immigrants @Remitly affinity groups.

On June 29, Intentionalist hit a milestone of representing 3,500 small businesses. “We’re excited to continue to grow our intersectional directory,” noted Laura. “And I’m excited that we get to speak with Osbaldo of Frelard Tamales who has been a long-time member of Intentionalist and frequent collaborator with other small businesses.”

Osbaldo moved to Seattle from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico with his family in the early 2000s. He said, “My mom started making tamales soon after we moved here and I would join her in selling them to our neighbors.” He added that while his mom continued to develop their family’s tamale recipe, he practiced how to describe what tamales are and learned the skills needed to market them.

He met his partner, Dennis, and together they started Frelard Tamales in 2015 after noticing a lack of authentic Mexican tamales in Seattle. 

Osbaldo credits the founding and success of Frelard Tamales to that tradition with his mom. Today, Osbaldo’s mom is still the heart and hands behind Frelard Tamales and is joined by a staff passionate about making tamales. “We’re successful because of our people… they bring a friendly energy and provide a great experience for customers.” 

Osbaldo and Dennis both have full time jobs and handed reins of the operation to their family and staff. While they’re not involved in the daily operations of Frelard Tamales, they are intentional about forming relationships with local businesses and supporting local causes. “The bonds we’ve formed with several communities through Intentionalist and local news has helped Frelard Tamales and also helped us elevate other businesses,” said Osbaldo.

When the COVID-19 pandemic forced restaurants to shut down service, Osbaldo and Dennis jumped in to help other restaurants navigate a take-out only model. “We’ve been a takeout restaurant since day one and were happy to share our learnings,” noted Osbaldo. “When flower farmers lost their space to sell, we facilitated their sales and gave back more than $60,000.”

Osbaldo talked to us about the importance of giving back to the community, collaborating with other small businesses, and how coming together helps neighborhoods thrive. “Dennis and I are members of the LGBTQ and immigrant communities, and we are proud to give back to causes working to benefit those intersections,” he said. “Especially those that focus on advocacy and protection of rights.

To show our appreciation of Osbaldo for sharing his time and stories with us, we donated funds directly to Frelard Tamales to pay for tamales deliveries to Alimentando el Pueblo, a community effort that distributes culturally relevant meals to families throughout King County.