Angela Rosas is the inspiring Latina for the week because of her passion and commitment to helping and serving people in her community. The 28-year-old Mexican American is the founder and creator of the non-profit organization Chicas Latinas in Sacramento, California. Angela created Chicas Latinas de Sacramento back in 2009 with the goal to increase Latina cultural awareness and volunteerism. The group provides on-going volunteer and community support to organizations such as Weave Inc., The Sacramento Homeless Connect, and The Sacramento Area Emergency Housing Center. Angela has also being working as a volunteer for WEAVE Inc. since 2007, as a certified Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault peer counselor and as a Speakers Bureau representative. We had a chance to speak with Angela about her heart for the Latino community and her desire to give back. Check out the interview below!
What inspired you to start Chicas Latinas?
“Volunteering has always been a part of my life and the more I did it and more organizations I worked, the more I took notice that there were not a lot of Latinos giving back, however many were using the services of these organizations. Besides the occasional language barrier – there was a greater (and often unseen) barrier, culture. This was a void that needed to be filled. (I wanted) to encourage Latina community, growth, and tradition. I am a 20-something Latina who grew up in Sacramento, the majority of the Latina women I know are all family, and I didn’t have the most traditional upbringing (nor do I speak Spanish). I wanted to connect with other Latina women, share stories, learn, explore our culture and create a supportive and positive atmosphere – while giving back of course!”
What fulfills you the most about working with Chicas Latinas?
“Inspiring others. It is really fantastic to see people get excited about volunteering and making real human connections with a population they wouldn’t have otherwise come in contact with. Volunteering can be scary or intimidating when you’re just starting out – especially if you’re working with populations of people you’ve had minimum contact with in the past. I also really enjoy exploring culture with our women. Like I said, not all of us speak Spanish, but we all share the same sentiment – we wish we did. We have language events where we get native speakers and non-speakers together (and they) basically learn Spanish!”
Why is this organization important for the Latino community?
“It is a (much needed) step in the right direction. Nonprofits and other community organizations need us, their clients need us. Our community is using their services, yet we’re not there to help them, and often times we’re the only ones who know how. The culture needs to be understood if that survivor is truly going to be reached and helped.”
What advice do you have for other Latinas who want to start an organization for Latinas?
“Do it. All you really need to start an organization is people willing to organize! Don’t make it bigger than what it is and intimidate yourself. Sure, down the line it may get bigger than what it is… and that’s when the real work begins! But if you have an idea, share it with likeminded people and let that idea turn into a reality – don’t fear it. Keep intentions true and trust that it will take the form it is meant to take.”
What gives you the most pride about being Latina?
“Something I’ve grown to love and respect about Latina women is their great ability to nurture and provide endless strength. Typically Latinas are known for being passionate, creative, and fiery souls, however, when I look back at the Latina women in my life, what I remember the most is being loved and protected. A Latina will go to great lengths to ensure her family is healthy, happy, and taken care of. She will fight battles and she will win. I believe it is this that feeds our well-known passionate, creative, and fiery souls. We are loving – but we are fighters!”
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