The Association of Latino Professionals for America (ALPFA) announced on March 14th the 50 Most Powerful Latinas (MPL) in corporate America list through its media partner Fortune Magazine, and the MPL Summit hosted by its educational partner Columbia University which will take place on May 20th.
Founded in 1972, ALPFA’s purpose is to connect passionate Latino leaders for exponential impact. “We first collaborated with Fortune and their partner Great Place to Work on the 10 Best Workplaces for Latinos list, and we are proud to bring to Fortune’s readers this remarkable list of Latina business executives,” said ALPFA’s CEO Charles Garcia. He added, “ALPFA applied the same criteria that Fortune uses for its Most Powerful Women list: the size and importance of the woman’s business in the global economy, the health and direction of the business, the arc of the woman’s career and social and cultural influence.”
ALPFA’s list prioritizes women leading large public companies with significant operating roles, rather than C-Level staff roles. It includes two women operating global private firms, three entrepreneurs who scaled their businesses into the middle market, and three Latinas, who although recently retired, exercise leadership roles on Fortune 500 boards. The list includes Cuban-born Geisha Williams, CEO and President of PG&E Corp., who earlier this month became the first Latina to lead a Fortune 500 company. It also includes PwC partner Maria Moats who leads 1,600 PwC partners in the firm’s Audit practice in North America and Mexico; and Gabriela Franco Parcella, who oversees $340 billion in assets as the Chairman & CEO of Mellon Capital.
These women have significant global roles, such as PepsiCo’s Chief Supply Officer Grace Puma who manages $25 billion in global spend; Adriana Cisneros who leads a global media company that became Facebook’s first Reseller in the Americas, and distributes content to 100 countries in 12 languages; and Bank of America Vice Chairman Sonia Dula who last month closed on a transformational deal to bring mobile connectivity to more than 90% of Mexico’s population, a bold initiative of President Peña Nieto’s reform agenda. The full list can be accessed here – MPL2017.
The MPL Summit and a dinner celebration will take place on May 20th at Columbia University. The MPL Summit theme is “Leading with Purpose” and the agenda and instructions on how to apply to participate can be accessed at www.alpfa.org/mostpowerfullatinas
ALPFA (Association of Latino Professionals For America) is the longest standing Latino organization with 80,000+ members assembled in 45 professional and more than 160 student chapters across America. Our ambition is to connect 1 million passionate Latino leaders for exponential impact.
See the complete list of the 50 most powerful Latinas of 2017 on Fortune.
An online shop is standing out for its use of funny and unconventional phrases that resonate with many Latinos, and it’s gaining a fan base on social media.
“We try to touch on things that are funny and sincere. I think that resonates with people,” says House of Chingasos founder Carlos Ugalde.
The House of Chingasos focuses on tailoring their designs to reflect the joys of being Latino — with sayings from sweet childhood rhymes to sarcastic takes on how Latinos are seen.
(Image Credit – NBC News)
“We try to touch on things that are funny and sincere. I think that resonates with people — they go, ‘Oh my gosh, I remember chingasos!’” Carlos Ugalde, 49, told NBC News. Chingasos is slang for a beating or going to blows with someone, although it can mean a harsher curse word to some.
One T-shirt reads “Cafecito Y Chisme” (coffee and gossip), while a woman’s T-shirt reads “Tamale Squad,” with “La jefa” (female boss) underneath. A man’s T-shirt reads “Menudo wrecking machine,” a reference to a popular dish made with tripe.
Another item refers to “colita de rana,” which literally means frog’s tail but is really known as part of a Spanish-language nursery rhyme to console children after they’ve been hurt or when they’re sick. “Sana, sana, colita de rana (Heal, heal, little frog’s tail …),” the rhyme starts.
“It pulls on the heartstrings and people connect with that,” Ugalde said about some of his phrases. Another T-shirt makes a political point — reading “I only look illegal,” with the phrase #Deportracism underneath the stark phrase.
The Las Vegas-based store has nearly 117,000 followers on Facebook and Instagram, where they often share memes that Latinos can relate to. The actor Mario Lopez and Oscar De La Hoya, the former professional boxer, have become fans of the store’s shirts.
If you’re a Latino entrepreneur or small business owner, know that you’re not alone, and that there are tools, funding, and mentorship available to help you succeed through this crisis. Below, we’ve compiled a list of some essential tools that can help Latino small business owners rebuild and thrive.
Social media & digital tools
Using social media to your maximum advantage is a cost-effective way to market your business, strengthen customer relationships, and sell through new channels. Social media is an indispensable tool to help level the playing field and grow your business during good and challenging times.
Start-up accelerators can help early-stage entrepreneurs find training, mentorship, resources, and potential funding for their new ventures. Some are focused exclusively on Latino-owned start-ups, and can be found in metro areas throughout the United States.
Networking & business support groups
The Latino small business community enjoys support at the local and national level from a variety of organizations that help Hispanic business owners find the resources they need to succeed.
A good starting point: Most major cities have a Hispanic Chamber of Commerce that can help you access local support, and some heavily Latino-populated cities, such as Miami, have many other networking groups.
The coronavirus pandemic has caused a healthcare and economic crisis across the country and around the globe. It has also posed some difficult questions for businesses and their workers, like law firms and their attorneys and staff.
There has been a wide range of issues stemming from the pandemic. As an employer with offices throughout Florida, we also have first-hand experience with some of the complications caused by the economic downturn. At the same time, we also understand how important it is to maintain a diverse and inclusive workplace. This is an essential part of our identity as a law firm, which we believe helps us better serve the people and businesses we represent.
Businesses, including law firms, must understand that employment-related and other decisions made now in response to the pandemic can have a long-term impact. They should be mindful of how those moves can affect their ability to recruit and retain a diverse and capable workforce.
Below are some essential tips for weathering COVID-19 without jeopardizing your team.
Keep Diversity in Mind When Considering Cutbacks.
The crisis has unfortunately forced some employers to trim their payrolls by cutting the headcount. Still, it is vital to retain a diverse and inclusive workforce during the pandemic and to be able to retain talent when economic conditions improve.
Company leaders can prioritize diversity by keeping it at top-of-mind when deciding whom to lay off and whom to keep on the job. They should ensure that such decisions are based on objective criteria rather than subjective factors that may make diverse employees more susceptible to the termination.
Leaders can also combat potential biases by being mindful of assignment creation, especially as many employees continue to work from home. Providing your diverse workforce with opportunities to work on important projects or tasks can go a long way in helping all to build confidence and experience on the job.
Understand That Everyone Has Different Personal Obligations
The pandemic, school closures, and the shift to telework can be incredibly stressful for working parents and people who are caring for the elderly or other family members.
It is crucial to acknowledge that everyone has different cultural and personal obligations, and it is especially important to show a commitment to working with employees during this time of anxiety and uncertainty. Allowing for flexible time off during the week and alternative scheduling arrangements can play a huge role in easing the burden for many employees.
Supplement In-Person Networking with Resources for Remote Profile Building
Although social distancing means many people are staying home, it does not mean that all career-building and networking opportunities need to be put on pause.
Law firms and other businesses should already be thinking about helping people bolster their online networking efforts. Tutorials on leveraging Linkedin, getting involved in webinars and other events, and participating in professional organizations can ultimately lead to maintaining and/or expanding contacts.
Internal marketing departments can play a crucial role in this training and development. It is also important to implement standards for tracking these efforts to ensure that they pay off in the long run.
Following the above tips can help all business leaders maintain a strong and diverse team of employees.
Searcy Denney Scarola Barnhart & Shipley PA is a Florida-based personal injury law firm that has represented thousands of clients with car accident, medical malpractice, brain injury and numerous other injury claims.
Ride-hailing companies Lyft and Uber face a long road in creating more racial equity at the top of their organizations, a new USA TODAY analysis shows.
A snapshot of leadership at both companies illustrates their ongoing struggle to boost the number of African Americans, Hispanics and Latinos, who are sharply underrepresented in nearly every part of the technology industry except in administrative roles.
Lyft has made progress in bringing aboard Black executives, surpassing rival Uber and its Big Tech counterparts, according to 2018 figures, the most recent government data available.
Six out of 49, or 12%, of senior leaders at the company – individuals within two reporting levels of the CEO – are Black, compared with 3% of senior leadership at Facebook, 3.4% at Google and 2.4% at Uber.
This year has been a huge year for Zoom, as families and friends around the world have turned to the video chat service to stay in touch during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Microsoft Teams just barreled into the room to make Zoom look a little silly by comparison.
According to The Verge, Microsoft’s primarily business-focused video call app is getting a free tier with a 24-hour time limit on calls just in time for the holidays.
As many as 300 people can jam into one room, with a gallery view that can display up to 49 of them on one screen. (Zoom has a max of 100 participants for Basic and Pro users.) There’s also a feature called Together Mode that will arrange everyone’s video feeds so it looks like they’re sitting together in a theater or coffee shop. If your family is that big, feel free to go nuts with Microsoft Teams — and good luck following the conversation.
Calls can be started and joined from a web browser so you don’t need to download an app. Whoever starts the call will need a Microsoft account, which you should have on hand if you’ve ever used Office or an Xbox but is pretty easy to set up if you haven’t. Crucially, folks who don’t have Microsoft accounts can join calls.
Continue on to Mashable to read the complete article.
This inspiring group of innovators is changing the Latinx community’s perspective, featuring plus-size model Ady Del Valle, California Secretary of State Alex Padilla, WNBA Diana Taurasi, writer, actor, rapper, and composer Lin-Manuel Miranda and activist Luis Miranda, supreme court judge Sonia Sotomayor, fiction and non-fiction author Carmen Maria Machado.
Luis A. Miranda, Jr., left and Lin-Manuel Miranda at the
IMDb Studio at Acura Festival Village.
(Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images for Acura)
Lin-Manuel Miranda and Luis Miranda Writer, actor, rapper, and composer Lin-Manuel Miranda has grown quite the platform since the success of his Broadway hit musical Hamilton. But even before the hip-hop musical’s success, Miranda has used his growing platform to advocate for causes that are important to him, from issues of racial equality to the need to vote, and has done so with his long-time activist father, Luis Miranda. Luis has been an integral part of Latino rights in the United States, working directly on Senate campaigns, serving as the Director of Hispanic Affairs in New York City, educating Latinx people on voting, and in his latest endeavor, providing direct relief to Puerto Rico after the devastation of Hurricane Maria. In honor of Luis’s dedication to activism, Lin and Luis have produced the HBO documentary, Siempre, Luis, which follows Luis Miranda’s life fighting for equality and preservation. The documentary aired on October 6, with the goal of using the Miranda family’s platform to educate more people and to raise awareness of Latinx issues.
Ady Del Valle and the Latinx Creative The modeling and fashion industries have shaped the world’s perception of beauty for years, but the models displaying these beauty standards are often portraying only one body type, race, and sexuality. However, plus-size Latinx model Ady Del Valle decided it was time to share the voices that often aren’t heard. Through his organization, The Latinx Creative, Del Valle has showcased an array of Hispanic creatives and their work, including other plus-size models. Del Valle, in collaboration with other Latinx plus size models Frankie Tavares, Luis Cruz, Taylee De Castro, Yaznil Baez, and Kengie Smith, has been credited to sparking a “plus-size revolution” serving as a representation of beauty that defies the norm. De Valle further uses his platform for inclusivity to advocate for LGBTQ+ rights and defying gender norms.
Alex Padilla California Secretary of State Alex Padilla has been a beacon of change throughout his entire political career. Padilla has been on government committees since he was just 26 years old and served as the first Latino and youngest president of the Los Angeles City Council at age 28. Working in the very community he was brought up in when his parents immigrated to the United States, Padilla has used his role on City Council and as the Chair of the Committee on Energy, Utilities, and Communications to advocate for the needs of the community. Under Padilla’s leadership, Los Angeles has received improved legislations on public and private educations, stopping crime rates, increasing budget, decreasing obesity and diabetes cases, better utilize technology, and much more. In Padilla’s new position as State Secretary, he has focused much of 2020 on properly handling COVID-19 health procedures and ensuring voting accessibility throughout the state of California.
Diana Taurasi The recipient of countless WNBA awards, four Olympic gold medals, five scoring titles, three FIBA world cups, and numerous offers to play for the All-Star teams, Diana Taurasi is one of the biggest names in basketball in the modern age. Playing for the Phoenix Mercury since 2004, Taurasi has become the WNBA’s all-time leading scorer, often making the crucial last-minute plays that give Phoenix its victories. Despite suffering recent injuries, Taurasi has been using this year to better improve her game and the world around her. She worked diligently to honor Kobe Bryant after his passing in early March, is an advocate for the LGBTQ+ community, and is back to playing at peak performance post-injury, giving her great consideration to be the WNBA’s MVP of the Year.
Sonia Sotomayor Even before she became the first Latina supreme court judge in 2009, Justice Sonia Sotomayor has always worked hard for her success. Being inspired by her single mother, who always emphasized the importance of receiving an education, Sotomayor attended Princeton University and Yale Law School, earning her J.D. and passing the bar exam by the age of 26. After working as a trial lawyer for a District Attorney and within her own practice, Sotomayor was appointed to the Southern District of New York at age 38, Bush the U.S. Second Circuit Court at age 43, and the Supreme Court at age 55. On the Supreme Court, Sotomayor has played an integral role in advocating for equal opportunity and civil liberties, helping pass the Affordable Health Care Act and the legalization of gay marriage. As of 2020, Sonia Sotomayor has been donating much of her time to advocating for immigrants, racial equality, and protection from COVID-19.
Carmen Maria Machado Carmen Maria Machado is a fiction and non-fiction author who uses a blend of genres to create stories that raise awareness of social issues in a Jordan Peele like fashion. Of the 20 plus stories she has written, Machado has received an especially high amount of success for her books, Her Body and Other Parties, an analogy on the dehumanization of the woman’s body, and In the Dream House, the heavily inspired true story of Machado’s abusive relationship. Her stories have earned her published spots in big-name titles such as The New York Times and The New Yorker, has received tremendous praise and an overwhelming number of awards, nominations, fellowships, grants, and residencies. Machado’s non-fiction works also contribute to enhancing conversation and bringing awareness as she often writes of personal experiences, Latinx culture, and women’s rights.
The U.S. Census Bureau recently released new estimates showing 1.1 million employer firms were owned by women and 1.0 million by minorities. According to the 2018 Annual Business Survey (ABS), covering year 2017, 5.6 percent (322,076) of all U.S. businesses were Hispanic-owned and 6.1 percent (351,237) were owned by veterans.
Additional statistics released include:
In 2017, the sector with the most women-owned businesses 16.9 percent (192,159) were in the healthcare and social assistance industry, followed by professional, scientific and technical services 16.4 percent (185,649), and 11.7 percent (132,894) in the retail trade industry.
The top sectors for Hispanic-owned firms were construction with 15.6 percent (50,187) of all firms, followed by accommodation and food services 13.0 percent (41,817), and professional, scientific and technical services 10.6 percent (34,292). Hispanic firms in these top three industries employed approximately 1.2 million workers, had receipts totaling approximately $130.9 billion and an annual payroll of approximately $35.8 billion.
There were 555,638 Asian-owned businesses, with 23.9 percent (132,698) in the accommodation and food services sector. Asian-owned firms had the largest receipts ($814.8 billion) among minority groups.
Black or African Americans owned 124,004 firms in 2017 with 32.0 percent (39,714) of these firms in the healthcare and social services industry.
The ABS, sponsored by the National Science Foundation’s National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES), and conducted jointly with the Census Bureau combined the Survey of Business Owners, the Annual Survey of Entrepreneurs, the Business R&D and Innovation for Microbusinesses Survey, and the innovation section of the Business R&D and Innovation Survey. The ABS measures research and development for microbusinesses, innovation and technology, and provides annual data on select economic and demographic characteristics for businesses and business owners by sex, ethnicity, race and veterans status. Additional data on research and development and innovation will be released by NCSES in the coming months.
Hispanic small business owners are the fastest-growing group of entrepreneurs in the US.
The number of Hispanic business owners grew 34% over the past 10 years as compared to 1% for all U.S. business owners, according to a recent study from Stanford University.
The following are 10 resources that advance, promote, support, and help Hispanic businesses to grow and thrive.
United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC)
The mission of the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce is “To foster Hispanic economic development and to create sustainable prosperity for the benefit of American society.” The USHCC promotes the economic growth, development, and interests of Hispanic-owned businesses. It also advocates on behalf of 260 major American corporations and serves as the umbrella organization for more than 250 local chambers and business associations nationwide. Twitter: @USHCC
The Hispanic Retail Chamber of Commerce (HRCOC)
The Hispanic Retail Chamber of Commerce represents U.S. Hispanic retail businesses and their interests and priorities to the government and in the media. With Accredited Alliances in every state, the HRCOC serves members of every size and in many retail sectors, such as supermarkets and food & beverage distributors. Various membership plans are available. Twitter: @RetailChamber
Hispanic Association of Small Businesses (H.A.S.B.)
The Hispanic Association of Small Business provides minority business owners, and aspiring business owners, with educational materials, business workshops, and English workshops to improve the success of the community. By advocating on behalf of individuals, small businesses, and entrepreneurs, the H.A.S.B. works to eliminate prejudice and discrimination against socially disadvantaged or underprivileged small businesses. Facebook: @hasb.org
Hispanic Small Business Center from Hello Alice
The Hispanic Small Business Center is a microsite of Hello Alice, a free, multichannel platform that helps businesses launch and grow. Cofounded by Carolyn Rodz and Elizabeth Gore, Hello Alice encompasses a community of more than 200,000 business owners in all 50 states and across the globe. The Hispanic Small Business Center partners with enterprise business services, government agencies, and institutions to help grow small and medium-sized businesses. The website provides resources, how-to guides, and research. Twitter: @HelloAlice
Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA)
Part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, the Minority Business Development Agency promotes the growth of minority-owned businesses and helps Hispanic business owners access and connect with capital, contracts, and markets. The MBDA also advocates and promotes minority-owned business with elected officials, policymakers, and business leaders. Twitter: @USMBDA
National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC)
The National Minority Supplier Development Council advances business opportunities for certified minority business enterprises and connects them to corporate members to encourage supplier diversity. You apply for NMSDC certification through one of its regional councils. The organization connects more than 12,000 certified minority-owned businesses to a network of corporate members who wish to purchase their products, services, and solutions. The NMSDC corporate membership includes many public and privately-owned companies, as well as healthcare companies, colleges, and universities. Twitter: @NMSDCHQ
Grants.gov is an e-government initiative operating under the Office of Management and Budget. The system contains information on more than 1,000 federal grant programs and vets grant applications for federal agencies. By registering with the website, Hispanic and other business owners can apply for any grants available, as long as the company meets the requirements of the grant. To apply you will need a DUNS Number, which is a unique nine-character identification number provided by the commercial company Dun & Bradstreet (D&B). Twitter: @grantsdotgov
Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility (HACR)
The Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility’s mission is to advance the inclusion of Hispanics in corporate America at a level proportionate with Hispanic economic contributions in the areas of employment, procurement, philanthropy, and governance. With helpful programs, research, and virtual seminars, the HACR is committed to making a difference in the way Hispanics are treated and perceived in Corporate America. Twitter: @HACRORG
The Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC)
The Congressional Hispanic Caucus is a Congressional Member organization, governed by the Rules of the U.S. House of Representatives. The CHC addresses national and international issues and crafts policies that impact the Hispanic community. The Caucus is dedicated to voicing and advancing, through the legislative process, issues affecting Hispanics in the United States, Puerto Rico, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. Twitter: @HispanicCaucus
League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC)
Founded in 1929, the League of United Latin American Citizens is the largest and oldest Hispanic organization in the U.S. LULAC strives to improve the economic condition, education, political influence, housing, health and civil rights of Hispanic Americans through community-based programs. With more than 1,000 councils nationwide, the organization’s advisory board consists of Fortune 500 companies, which fosters stronger partnerships between corporate America and the Hispanic community. Twitter: @LULAC
“Sí se puede” is a powerful phrase that was coined by labor activist Dolores Huerta, who pushed for better working conditions and rights for farmworkers.
(It was also used as an empowering chant by a group of Latina cheerleaders in the Disney Channel Original Movie, Gotta Kick it Up! featuring award-winning actress America Ferrera).
Today, the phrase continues to serve as an empowering message for Latinas in the form of a new nonpartisan digital community platform known as “She Se Puede” (with a particular emphasis on the word, “she”).
She Se Puede—launched by actress-activists Eva Longoria Baston and America Ferrera, and a group of passionate Latina leaders—aims to empower Latinas “to realize and act on their own power.”
The platform gives Latinas an opportunity to celebrate their impact and achievements, connect with community resources, and be inspired by diverse lifestyle content highlighting Latinas.
“America and I worked with Dolores for decades and we just wanted to have her blessings because there’s such history in ‘Sí se puede,'” Eva told GMA.
“It was birthed from me and America and Zoe Saldana, and we were all campaigning in Florida, advocating for yet another candidate on a stage, giving talking points and we were going, ‘Why aren’t we advocating for ourselves? Where’s the community? And not only of Latinos, but specifically of Latinas,'” Eva said.
Too often, Latinas are underrepresented in entertainment, government, and other aspects of society. Their voices are often excluded from the narrative, which is why the idea for “She Se Puede” came into conception to embolden and inspire Latinas to trust in their power.
“Unless and until we believe in our own potential and realize our own power, we will remain underrepresented as a political and cultural force,” said America Ferrera.
The goal for “She Se Puede” is to build a unique digital community and lifestyle platform “for Latinas, by Latinas” by publishing relatable and inspiring, everyday lifestyle content ranging from health, food parenting, beauty, to civic engagement. It’s also an opportunity to help provide Latinas with the tools they need to own their power.
Eva and America have both encouraged Latinas to share their “She Se Puede” moments on social media to engage and inspire a growing and close-knit Latina community where women see themselves reflected through everyday, raw moments.
Eva recently shared a Facebook photo of herself breastfeeding her son while working on set as a director. Eva posted, “This is my She Se Puede moment! This [photograph] was taken when I was directing right after my son was born. Breastfeeding on set, pumping milk on my breaks, and directing a television show was challenging. But I did it! And I knew I could because we (Latinas) can accomplish anything! Follow @she_sepuede and celebrate a moment you’re proud of with #shesepuede for a chance to be featured.”
In September—just a few weeks before the presidential election—She Se Puede posted a call out on Instagram encouraging Latinas interested to join the “She Se Puede Power Squad.” It was part of an effort to encourage Latinas from across the country to step up and transform their lives, communities, and country by acting as community ambassadors.
For Eva, the platform is very much an empowering state of mind for Latinas:
“So when we say empowerment, we mean we want Latinas to feel empowered in everything that they do, from their careers, to their workouts, to what food they eat, and even how they can request their mail-in ballot,” said Eva.
The digital platform was officially created by a team of Latina leaders passionate about mobilizing and creating change in the community: Alex Martínez Kondracke, America Ferrera, Carmen Perez, Christy Haubegger, Elsa Collins, Eva Longoria Bastón, Jess Morales Rocketto, Mónica Ramírez, Olga Segura, and Stephanie Valencia.
Eva Longoria: From Desperate Housewives to Political Activist
Eva has used her influence as a Latina actress, director, producer, entrepreneur, and philanthropist to make a positive impact in the Latina community.
Known as the character Gabrielle Solis in the comedy-drama series, Desperate Housewives, Eva has often looked to the show’s storytelling and execution in her own journey as a producer. The show first aired its pilot in October 2004, putting her in the spotlight.
“For her, the Desperate Housewives pilot was a masterclass in how to create and launch a TV show, and she says she still uses what she learned from that experience as a producer launching her own shows,” Variety said.
The 2017 Philanthropist of the Year has also used her platform as an actress to shed light on other critical issues ranging from politics to better education and entrepreneurship opportunities for Latinas.
Eva has also been a prominent advocate for disability rights and amplifying the voices of Latinos in politics.
She has been associated with many different charities and foundations over the years, with a focus on advocating for various causes affecting women and children.
In 2006, she co-founded Eva’s Heroes, an organization that aims to enrich the lives of individuals with intellectual special needs.
Eva’s Heroes is an organization that is very near and dear to her heart, as she has a sister with special needs. “I am blessed with a sister who has special needs. Now, I want to impact the lives of similar young adults nationwide,” said Eva.
With her entrepreneurial spirit and inspiring advocacy career, Eva has long been fighting for more representation of Latino political leaders, co-founding Latino Victory Fund, a progressive political committee to help grow Latino political power and influence.
Most recently, she headlined and opened up the 2020 Democratic National Convention with an inspiring speech about saving our democracy and making our voices heard:
“So, tonight we stand together, united by the values we cherish: Decency, respect, justice, and the opportunity to rise up. We always hear that line about this being the most important election of our lifetimes, but this year, it really is.”
In her keynote speech, she also acknowledged the lives lost and impacted by COVID-19, compounded by immense job loss and division. “Yet, in the middle of the fear and sorrow and uncertainty, people have come together because they know we are better than this. America is better than this,” she added.
It wasn’t long until Eva received criticism for headlining the convention from Marco Rubio in a tweet that said, “Brilliant move! No one is more in touch with the challenges & obstacles faced by everyday Americans than actors & celebrities.”
Eva hosted the DNC, not just as an actress, but also as a Latina woman with immense influence and advocacy for different important causes affecting women and the Latino community, said Refinery29.
Beyond her trailblazing work and committing to better Latino representation, she is also committed to empowering and supporting the Latino community through education and entrepreneurship opportunities.
In 2013, Eva received her master’s degree in Chicano Studies from California State University, Northridge. She has also worked tirelessly to help advocate for more Latino representation and job opportunities for Latinos in the Hollywood entertainment industry. USC Annenberg reported that between 2007 and 2013, only 3 percent of films featured leads or co-leads with Latino actors. And, of the films that were analyzed, only 4.5 percent of all speaking characters were Latino in the past decade.
Through her work with the Eva Longoria Foundation, Eva has been committed to investing in Latino community leaders and entrepreneurs. She recently joined forces with the Latino Community Foundation to continue supporting Latina entrepreneurs in California during the “Coming of Age” 15th anniversary gala in May 2020.
During the gala, Eva announced a new initiative aimed at investing and supporting Latina entrepreneurs in California. Proceeds from the gala supported Latino organizations that provide vital services to low-income families that are impacted by wage loss as well as California farmworkers and their families.
Eva has long been an outspoken advocate for Latino representation and has empowered Latina youth through various mentorship and STEM programs at the Eva Longoria Foundation.
The foundation’s programs help narrow the opportunity gap that many Latinas face through culturally relevant programs, such as STEM education, mentorship, parent engagement, and entrepreneurship.
The Eva Longoria Foundation says Latinas are a rapidly growing demographic with immense potential, but they “disproportionately lack educational opportunities and face economic challenges.”
The goal of the foundation is to close the education gap and help Latinas build better futures through education and entrepreneurship.
Along with supporting and empowering Latino youth, Eva is passionate about civic engagement, empowering Latino voters, and advocating for more Latino representation in politics.
She co-founded the Latino Victory Project—a progressive political action committee–to elevate the voices of Latinos through politics and increase representation “at every level of government.”
In July, Eva headlined a kickoff event announcing Latino Victory Fund’s launch of the First Latinas program geared toward electing “trailblazing Latinas” to increase Latina representation in government and other aspects of political life.
Whether it’s saving our democracy to empowering youth and advocating for women, Eva has become an outspoken and much-needed voice in the Latina community.
America Ferrera: From Ugly Betty to Advocating for the Rights of Women
As an award-winning actress, producer, director, activist, organizer, and the proud daughter of immigrants from Honduras, America Ferrera has paved the way for Latina representation, speaking out about pressing political issues, and encouraging women to be in “decision-making roles” by getting a seat at the table.
In the early 2000s, America appeared as a Latina lead in the cult-favorite ABC comedy series Ugly Betty and the movie Real Women Have Curves, along with countless other groundbreaking lead roles. She has also gone on to star in the NBC show Superstore and has produced and directed several TV shows.
She has also received countless awards and was recognized as the first Latina to win an Outstanding Lead Actress Emmy for her lead role in Ugly Betty.
“I don’t fit in traditional boxes for women on screen. When I became an actress, my mere presence was a revolution because I wasn’t supposed to exist in this industry,” America told net-a-porter in an interview.
America has spoken out about the need for Latinas to see themselves represented on television. In an interview with the New York Times, America talked about the importance of diverse storytelling and representation:
“Our writers aren’t sort of pulling issues from the headlines. They are mostly driven by the characters in the show. And this is where the real necessity for diversity is exemplified. It’s so that the storytelling is rich and compelling and relevant to today because that is what our world actually looks like. That is what our culture should be reflective of—all the different points of view and real-life experiences that one has as an America.”
America is also a storyteller herself: She wrote a New York Times bestselling book, American Like Me: Reflections on Life Between Cultures, which highlights the experience of growing up between cultures.
Perhaps America’s most notable role off-screen is one as an advocate for women and helping Latinas and women of color recognize their true power and influence.
She has continued to advocate for women across the globe. She recently served as a keynote speaker for the Texas Women’s Foundation virtual luncheon September 29, 2020.
Her keynote address highlighted the importance of creating opportunities for women and empowering them to speak out about their experiences. It was also an opportunity to discuss her book, which features essays of 31 other first-generation American artists and activists who share their personal accounts of assimilating in America and staying connected to their roots.
One of her most impactful and life-changing moments was when she was invited as the opening speaker at the historic inaugural Women’s March in D.C. in 2017, where she used her platform as an actress and women and civil rights advocate to create and inspire change.
America is no stranger to speaking out against injustices. She has also spoken out about various issues concerning immigration, the environment, and healthcare. She talked about the importance of the Women’s March and how that day continued to impact and inspire change:
“None of us knew how historical the march would be. We’ve lost so much ground in this country going backwards, making people’s lives less equal and dignified. I think back to that day: we’re not alone, people will show up,” America told net-a-porter.
America’s experience at the historic Women’s March was something that continued to inspire her advocacy through her nonprofit organization, Harness. She began thinking of innovative ways to mobilize and bring communities together through the power of love, relationship building, and sustaining movements.
In an excerpt from “Together We Rise: Behind the Scenes at the Protest Heard Around the World” as quoted by Time Magazine, America talked about the impact of the Women’s March and the need to continue talking about channeling energy into sustaining the movement: “Our gatherings grew into an organization called Harness. We bring people together in the hope that those wanting to use their voices can do it from a deeper, more rooted place, because they are invested in real, personal relationships. That’s the fuel. The people you meet, the bodies you hug, the stories you hear. We don’t have to worry about people going home and forgetting what they heard and what they need to do. You don’t forget about people you know and love—you carry them in your heart. If we can bring that ethic of community and love into our daily lives, I believe we can sustain the movement.”
In 2016, America addressed the Democratic National Convention and later that year. After the events that transpired after the election, she launched Harness, along with her husband, Ryan Pier Williams, and Wilmer Valderrama.
The organization features a robust community of artists, activists, as well as entertainment leaders to elevate the experiences of marginalized communities. Today, Harness is more critical than ever during a pandemic that has claimed the lives of 200,000 Americans and continued racial injustice.
In an interview with Vogue, America talked about the decisions that others make about the lives of others and the importance of art and spreading political awareness:
“People make decisions every single day that impact my life—the air I breathe, my ability to walk down the street and be safe, how much money I make for the job I do, whether I can choose what happens to my body. And at every important social moment in our history, artists have played a role. It doesn’t have to be about marching. The art itself has a role to play. At the end of the day, it’s about wielding that sword with awareness.”
America also hasn’t shied away from getting political and speaking out about inequalities and injustice to women. She shared her personal experience as a survivor of childhood sexual assault during #MeToo:
“First time I can remember being sexually assaulted I was 9 years old…I told no one and lived with the shame and guilt thinking all along that I, a 9-year-old child, was somehow responsible for the actions of a grown man,” America told Variety.
She also went on to show solidarity with leaders and activists during the launch of the Time’s Up Movement, an initiative that aims to address issues related to sexual harassment in the workplace and the need for more advocacy for women. Several Hollywood leaders and celebrities like America and Shonda Rhimes committed to the movement’s mission in solidarity.
According to InStyle, America was one of the “first women in Hollywood who listened when 700,000 blue-collar women wrote an open letter offering support for those who’ve publicly shared their sexual harassment stories.”
In 2019, America helped mobilize and lead a group of actors including Eva, Kerry Washington, and others to meet with immigrant lawyers and migrant families seeking asylum.
America was deeply concerned about the Trump Administration policies and treatment of refugees. She told NBC News that the visit to the shelter in Tijuana was an opportunity to educate others on important issues.
She referenced being a mom and holding her newborn just the previous year, and thinking about the lack of running water or clean food that many refugees who are trying to seek asylum are denied: “How dire would my situation have to be to grab this brand new child and walk for a month, with no access to clean water and food, not knowing what I would meet along the way, to try and seek asylum and safety and refuge because my situation was so bad?” America questioned.
Over the years, America has become an empowering force in the Latina community. She’s been a much-needed voice speaking out about issues that concern women.
The Future of ‘She Se Puede’
Both America and Eva have made an impact speaking out about important issues affecting our communities, while empowering Latinas to tap into their inner strength and power.
The launch of She Se Puede comes at a critical time in the wake of important movements amplifying the impact of women, particularly Latinas.
As prominent Latina women with immense influence, both Eva and America are committed to continuing to uplift the voices of Latina women both online and offline.
She Se Puede continues to be a hopeful and optimistic digital community platform that addresses Latinas’ unique needs and provides ongoing support and resources to empower change.
“She Se Puede is the destination for the modern Latina who wants to level up her life. We celebrate our diverse experiences and dreams, and provide the tools we need to own our power. She Se Puede is a community for Latinas, by Latinas.”
“Amarillo, rojo, azul, rosado,” six children, all under the age of 10, repeated after Joana Pratt, co-owner of Art for Life in Buford, meaning yellow, red, blue and pink in Spanish.
The children learned the words to different colors in Spanish and more during a recent Monday afternoon at the studio while dancing and singing and doing all sorts of activities until they finally settled down to work on their Frida Kahlo inspired self-portraits in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month.
Children of all ages and of all backgrounds visit Art for Life four days a week for Pratt’s one-of-a-kind classes, where children learn to create art while also learning to speak Spanish.
Normally the studio would be filled with people listening to music as they painted, especially on the weekends for “Paint ‘N Sip” events, but over the last few months Pratt has had to rethink how she provides art classes for the community during the COVID-19 pandemic.
She is the only Latina art studio owner in Gwinnett County, opening it along with her husband, Timothy Pratt, in December 2017.
Joana Pratt said the first year they opened the studio after moving to Gwinnett from Las Vegas was very hard, as this was the second time in eight years they were starting over someplace new. However, the second year was “a little better.”
“And then the third year business was growing in February and March (of 2020),” Joana Pratt said. “We started getting booked all of April and May. Then on March 13 everything shut down. I had to close the studio. I started to try to learn how to navigate again in a new situation for me.”
At 52 years old, Joana Pratt said she had to learn how to use social networks like Facebook and Zoom to conduct business. Timothy Pratt said they lost about 80% of the business within one month of the shutdown.
“We’re not even starting over,” Timothy Pratt said. “We’re just trying to survive now.”
When the couple moved to Gwinnett, they quickly noticed the county’s growing Hispanic community and saw an opportunity to transform Joana Pratt’s dream of owning an art studio into reality.
The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that as of 2019 Hispanics make up 21.7% of the population in Gwinnett. But in October 2019, the Atlanta Regional Commission stated in its 2050 population projections for metro Atlanta that the largest group, at 28% of Gwinnett’s total population, is expected to be Hispanic. Whites will be the third largest group, making up 18% of the population.
“I thought opening an art studio would be a good idea for me,” Joana Pratt said. “I’m bilingual. This county is growing in the Hispanic community, and they don’t have a place to do art in their own language or bilingual. I thought it could be really good access for the community, but I didn’t want it to be like everybody else does it.”