16 Latinx Changemakers You Need to Know

Latina magazine and BeVisible are teaming up to celebrate some powerful Latinx movers, shakers and all-around badasses who are bravely and boldly making changes in our communities on issues of racial justice, immigration, gender identity, mental health, criminal injustice, feminism, politics and so much more.

Ahead, learn more about these mavericks who are crushing it for our community!

MORE: Why We Say Latinx: Trans & Gender Non-Conforming People Explain

1. Amanda Alcántara

Amanda Alcántara is a writer, journalist and activist currently living in the Bronx. She is the co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of La Galería Magazine, a publication for the Dominican diaspora, and author of the blog Radical Latina. Amanda writes about the intersections of gender and race from a political and personal perspective. In 2015, she created a video that garnered more than 250,000 views on a New York protest against the denationalization of Dominicans of Haitian decent in the Dominican Republic. She was also in the planning team of a protest that marched from the Bronx to Washington Heights in order to bring more attention to the issue. Amanda received her bachelor's degree from Rutgers University and is currently pursuing a master's degree in Latin American and Caribbean Studies at New York University.

2. Bamby Salcedo

Bamby Salcedo is a nationally recognized Latina transgender rights activist and organizer. Her work has brought visibility to not only the trans community, but also to the multiple overlapping communities and issues that her life has touched, including migration, HIV, youth, LGBT, incarceration and Latinx communities. The Los Angeles-based mexicana founded TransLatin@ Coalition, a nationwide group of trans Latinas fighting for the needs and rights of immigrant trans Latinxs. She is the star of the 2014 documentary, “Transvisible: Bamby Salcedo's Story.”

3. Carmen Perez

Carmen Perez is the executive director of The Gathering for Justice, an organization founded by Harry Belafonte in 2005 to end child incarceration while also working to eliminate racial inequities in the criminal justice system. In 2014, she founded an initiative under the organization called Justice League NYC, a task force of juvenile justice experts, advocates, activists and artists who have come together to work specifically on issues relating to juvenile justice. The California-born, New York-living Chicana has been advocating for young men and women, and providing comprehensive leadership training and opportunities for individuals in and out of the criminal justice system, for most of her life.

4. Carolina Contreras

Carolina Contreras is a leader in the international natural hair movement and the founder of Miss Rizos, a blog and salon in the Dominican Republic ran for and by Afro-Latinas. Considering herself an activist first, Contreras empowers women to embrace their natural afro-textured hair, advocates for the end of hair discrimination in her country and challenges racist ideas about pelo. One of her goals: change the way we speak about hair, particularly the idea that some pelo is “malo,” or bad. 

5. Cynthia Espinosa

Cynthia Espinosa is a food systems scholar and activist, helping diverse communities grow and eat more healthy food. Through her work, the 27-year-old Puerto Rican fights food insecurity and the injustice, discrimination and deterioration of “our madre tierra” and communities of color. Cynthia is a community education manager for Growing Places, where she uses gardening as a platform for social change, empowerment and an opportunity for reclaiming our roots. The Massachusetts-based Latina is also the Northeast ambassador for Latino Outdoors. She has a bachelor's degree in sustainable food management from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and is currently working on her master's degree in environmental education, where she is focusing on food systems. 

6. Dash Harris

Dash Harris is a filmmaker and owner of In.A.Dash Media, a multimedia and video production studio. The Panamanian-American created Negro, a docu-series exploring identity, colonization, racism and the African diaspora in Latin America and the Caribbean as well as the color complex among U.S. Latinxs. She's also a member of AfroLatino Travel, a resource for Afrodiasporic information, multimedia, travel curation and cultural exchange in the Americas, where she, and others, represent the Latin American team. Dash holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from Temple University.

7. Dior Vargas

Dior Vargas is a Latina feminist mental health activist. The Ecuadorian-Puerto Rican is the creator of the People of Color and Mental Illness Photo Project, a response to the invisibility of people of color in the media representation of mental illness. The Outreach Coordinator at Project UROK, a website for teens struggling with mental health issues, Dior is also a volunteer crisis counselor for CrisisTextLine and a co-facilitator for NAMI NYC Metro's Young Adult Support Group. 

8. Gloria Lucas

Gloria Lucas is a body image activist. She founded Nalgona Positivity Pride (NPP), a Xican@-Brown*-Indigenous body-positive site that focuses on eating disorders awareness and decolonizing the body, in 2014. Through NPP, the California-based Xicana's goal is to provide a comprehensive intersectional body-positive site that covers topics such as historical trauma, fat-positivity, eating disorders awareness and indigeneity.

9. Isa Noyola

Isa Noyola is a Texas-born and California-raised transgender rights activist. The director of programs at the Transgender Law Center, she helps develop strategies to respond to a wide variety of national policy issues, including health care access, economic justice, racial justice, student safety, prisoners’ rights and immigrants’ rights. A trans, gender-fluid, two-spirit, queer muxerista and cultural organizer, Isa is passionate about abolishing oppressive systems that criminalize trans and queer im/migrant communities of color.

10. Jack Qu'emi Gutierrez

Jack Qu’emi Gutierrez is an Afro-Puerto Rican nonbinary queer writer and social justice activist working in LGBTQ+ issues, racial justice and reproductive justice. Jack, whose gender pronouns are singular they/them, is also a sex education facilitator who has a deep appreciation for all things glitter. 

11. Joanna Cifredo

Joanna Cifredo is a writer and health equity advocate whose work in trans-inclusive healthcare, HIV/AIDS and reproductive healthcare has been recognized by the White House and the Human Rights Campaign, among others. In addition to her health equity activism, the Orlando, Florida-raised, Washington, D.C.-living puertorriqueña writes about transgender rights, racial justice and gender violence.

12. Maira Nolasco

Maira Nolasco is a New York-based Salvadoran ​filmmaker hoping to expand the narrative of the Latinx community. To do so, she ensures that Latinxs are involved in the process. For Maira, inclusion in media gives people of color a sense of empowerment.​ She is also the woman behind Sonic Feminista, an online platform sharing stories through writing and videos about Latina feminists who come from all walks of life, including doulas, Christian activists, artists, bloggers and other people who define feminism in different ways. A recent graduate of The New School, Maira has completed two graduate programs: a certificate program in documentary studies and a master's degree in media studies.​ She's currently working at ​BRIC, a Brooklyn-based media house.

13. Nadia Arid

Nadia Arid is a Peruvian and Palestinian-Lebanese student working toward the economic and cultural empowerment of the Latinx community. The California Latina attends Harvard Law School, where she intends on using her degree to promote the fair treatment and empowerment of low-income people of color in the U.S. and combat discrimination against communities of color, especially with regard to access to quality schools, employment protections and environmental justice issues. The 25-year-old is the president of La Alianza, her school's Latino students' association, a member of two law journals, including the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Journal and the Harvard Latino Law Review, and has worked as a policy organizer for the Harvard Immigration Project. She has a bachelor's degree in international relations from Stanford University.

14. Regina Monge

Regina Monge is a 20-year-old half-Costa Rican, half-Spanish student, activist and former elected official. The Latina ran for Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner for single-member District 07 in Washington, D.C.'s Ward 3 on just $58 and won, all while still enrolled in American University, where she studies international relations with a focus on development and Latin America. And she doesn't want to be the only young Latina in politics. Regina is an intern at the American Association for University Women, which partners with Running Start on a program called Elect Her, the only one in the country that trains and encourages collegiate women to run for office. She is also a millennial advisory board member at BeVisible, where she works with other Visibles to highlight Latinas and Latinx people who are leading social movements and championing political causes.

15. Rosa Clemente

Rosa Clemente is a black Puerto Rican scholar-activist, organizer and writer whose work centers on the struggles facing Black and Latinx people in the 21st century, including, though not exclusive to, mass incarceration, police brutality and Afro-Latinx identity. The Bronx native ran for Green Party Vice President in the 2008 U.S. election. She and congresswoman Cynthia McKinney became the first women of color ticket in U.S. history. She is currently a doctoral student in the W.E.B. Dubois department of UMASS-Amherst, where her research focuses on national liberation struggles inside the U.S. with a specific focus on The Young Lords Party, The Black Panther Party and the Black and Brown Liberation Movements of the 60s and 70s.

16. Mónica Ramírez

This poderosa is front and center in all the ways it matters for Latinxs! She is a Latina labor activist who was responsible for creating Latina Equal Pay Day! And she is the the co-founder of Alianza Nacional de Campesinas, a by and for farmworker women org, that has been at the forefront of the Times Up movement!