Inspiring Latina

Inspiring Latina | Dr. Lopez


What does being a Latina mean to you?:

Being a Latina means power beyond measure. It means fighting for what is right and never giving up. Being a Latina is who I am.

Share your movement, business, non-profit, dream, with us::

I envision a world where finances aren’t a stumbling block for individuals who aspire to attain higher education. For this reason I’ve started a non profit scholarship foundation, where students with financial need can apply to receive aid. This program will also provide students with mentorship opportunities throughout their educational journey, to help them reach their academic goals.

What inspired you to start your movement, business, non-profit, dream, etc.:

Potential in individuals inspires me. While I was in college, I too, needed a role model and financial assistance. And when it wasn’t there, it was hard. I saw a lot of my peers quit along the way due to the same struggles. Now as a professor, I see this happen too often and it breaks my heart. If we all do a small part, we can help someone achieve their dreams.

What are some preconceived notions/stereotypes that you've faced in your business, movement, non-profit, etc?:

Growing up I didn’t have anyone that looked like me in college or in positions of power. So the message I received was, people who look like me aren’t smart or they do not go to college. I am not a statistic. One reason I wear my hair curly most of the time it’s to show people that women who look like me do in fact earn doctoral degrees.

Are you a US citizen? If not, could you share what your experience has been being an immigrant, and the process of becoming a US citizen, resident, etc.:

I’m a US citizen. Although, I came to the states against my will. My mom brought us over really young and it was very hard. There’s a misconception that individuals who have citizenship should be content because we don’t go through what individuals who aren’t go through. Never would I compare it to such levels. However, I have suffered ramifications of becoming a resident of a city and culture I was not accustomed too. I was bullied and told to go back to Mexico, and may I remind you I’m Puerto Rican. The whole situation is sad.

If we could just recognize that as human beings we are going to suffer and we for this reason should stick together and fight for what is right for everyone. We wouldn’t go through so much.

If you ask me, we are all immigrants.

What are some of your aspirations for Latinos?

That all Latinx are educated to levels where they are placed in positions of power. My aspirations are that we change the paradigm in this country. We are the largest community. Then let us be the Largest educated community in the United States of America.

Is there something else you'd like to say or add?:

I would like to say that it is in the collective that we can make this world a better place. Collaboration is key in change!

Inspiring Latina | Clarybelle


What does being a Latina mean to you?:

Being a Latina for me means being strong, uniquely beautiful, and full of life.

We are strong because we endure many obstacles, but with our Latina sangre, we overcome them.

We are family strong, because we balance the household and family together, with our emotional strength. Latina’s are uniquely beautiful because we come in different shapes, colors and sizes.

We are full of life because God’s light shines on us.

Share your movement, business, non-profit, dream, with us::

“A Beautiful Project” is a faith based organization. We are about volunteer work and providing educational workshops around the Chicagoland area. Our goal is to grow spiritually and get involved. We want to teach young women to give back to their communities.

What inspired you to start your movement, businss, non-profit, dream, etc.:

I began my #womenhood journey when I was 16 years old, it started off as a beauty blog. Then at 21, God planted a seed in my heart of service. My younger sister Suzzy and I ( Both Prom Queen Alumni’s ) decided to give back to our high school and donate prom dresses to teens in need. Later in 2017, we created a foundation “A Beautiful Project” to inspire young women to get involved in the community with us and grow spiritually. We believe that providing a nurturing environment can help young people reach their highest potential.

What are some preconceived notions/stereotypes that you've faced in your business, movement, non-profit, etc?:

The things I’ve faced having a community oriented organization is dealing with the lack of support from other women in the same field. I’d love for all of us to come together and make a difference in the world, but I guess not everyone rolls like that. It’s sad to say but many women don’t like to support each other. I want to help break this curse!

Who are some of your Latinx inspirations?:

My Puerto Rican mother Maribel Lopez and Grandmother Marisela Melecio. They have both paved the way for my family and I to achieve our goals and to be proud of who we are! They’re the real hero’s in my life.

Is there something else you'd like to say or add?:

My ultimate passion in life is to serve in the community and teach young women to believe in themselves, no matter where you come from. God made you with a purpose.

Inspiring Latina | Jelisa


What does being a Latina mean to you?:

Being Latina for me means living loud, loving, extravagantly and owning what makes me uniquely me. None of us look the same, sound the same, but we are connected by our music, and the similarities in our culture. Being Latina means that I live in the light of my ancestors while forging a new way.

We are strong, resilient, and beautiful!

Share your movement, business, non-profit, dream, with us:

I’m currently in grad school (almost finished) for my masters degree in social work. I learned long ago that I am an encourager - I love and love to see people succeed. I love stories. As a social worker I listen to so many heartbreaking stories and I get to see how resilient people are. How in spite of heartbreak and loss, they can move forward and build a life that means something. I’m hoping to launch a project soon that joins all different types of women together. Recognizing that the power of our stories makes us Brave. Whether our steps of bravery are large or small, our bravery gives others permission to unlock theirs. So soon there will be a Brave Ones movement.

What inspired you to start your movement, businss, non-profit, dream, etc.:

I’ve worked in the non profit sector since I was a teenager. Seeing people at their worst, absolutely broken, with seemingly no hope — I realized how important having an ally is. How important listening to someone’s story is. How important telling your own story is. Over the years I have shared my story of loss and heartbreak. My struggle with faith and realizing that God is the ultimate story teller. I’ve seen so many (women) identify with parts of my story and I’ve seen them open up about their own. The heart behind Brave Ones is that we are all on a journey of bravery and it looks different for all of us but this life requires us to be brave - inspite is so many things. The hope is that when we discover our identity and get around people who encourage us we can walk more freely in who we are. We all have purpose but so many of us lack a REAL community where encouragement is constant.

What are some preconceived notions/stereotypes that you've faced in your business, movement, non-profit, etc?:

Being a woman is difficult in a lot of sectors. Being a Latina can be even more difficult. I see the stares and experience the microagressions in class when I’m the only Latina in my graduate level course. I constantly have to change or decide how to dress or wear my hair. There was a time when I would only wear my hair straight to meetings because it felt more professional. I’ve had men talk over or completely shut me out of a meeting where I was the expert in the room or when discussing my clients. It’s difficult sometimes having to remind yourself - I’ve worked hard to get here. I deserve to be here. My opinion matters.

Who are some of your Latinx inspirations?:

Gina Rodriguez, Sandra Cisneros, Rita moreno, my maternal grandmother Maria Alvear Perez, my paternal grandmother Rosa Mercado, my mother Digna Maria Mercado.