18 Amazing Women Fighting for Latinas Everyday

By: Cindy Nava

Latinas today work an average of 22 months to earn what it takes a white, non-Hispanic man to earn in a year. Where white, non-Hispanic men make a dollar, Latinas earn an average of 54 cents. This has been the case for decades, since data exists to quantify Latina pay. But the status quo is finally being challenged, ratified, and amended thanks to the voices of courageous women leaders who continue to build those bridges for the many of us coming right behind and who are devoted to unifying and empowering Latinas throughout this nation. Here are 18 such women who are leading the way.

 

I cannot begin to describe how grateful I am to be blogging here at Huffington Post. I intend to make good use of the platform she built, that my voice help represent the many hardworking women who aspire to a tomorrow in which men and women will be valued as equals at home and in workplaces everywhere in our country. Thanks again, Mrs. Huffington.

 

Hillary Clinton

In 1995, Hillary led a U.S. delegation to the U.N. Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, where she cast a global spotlight on violence against women and declared that “human rights are women’s rights and women’s rights are human rights.” In 2016, Latinas earn an average of 54 cents for every dollar by white men and la Hillary is the top female candidate in American political history. She broke the campaign ceiling for women the day she announced her candidacy for President of the United States. Hillary campaigns to make affordable childcare a reality for the 32 percent of Latinas who are in college and balancing raising their children.

 

Sophie Cruz
This amazing girl’s message Pope Francis will go down as one of the most-powerful Latina moments in American history when Francis stopped the Popemobile for little Sophie Cruz, who had a powerful message for the first Latino Pope. Watch here.

A lot more Latino children are obese than white children. This is a problem while not unique to our community, is devastating to our children. The First Lady’s campaign to combat childhood obesity is a direct engagement with our communities to address this problem. Find out more about her Let’s Move campaign en Espanol.

 

Maria Elena Salinas

For a generation of abuelitas, their daughters, and their granddaughters, Maria Elena is the newswoman we trust. When she reports, we listen. And when we’re wronged, she reports. As Univision’s nightly news anchor, Maria Elena Salinas is one of the most important women on American television. She is also stunning in Spanish and English; on the frontlines of a crisis and in an evening gown.

As chair of the Democratic National Committee, she is one of the most-powerful women in American politics. Having interned there last summer, I had the unique privilege of seeing Debbie and her staff fight to make the next president a Democrat every day. To give you an idea of how amazing this woman is, not only is she a mother, a clean eating guru, and a breast cancer survivor, Debbie Wasserman Schultz has made it one of the focuses of her career in politics to stand up for undocumented people, especially children, while elevating countless Latinas in Washington politics and in her south Florida district.

 

Eva Longoria

People make a mistake when they think of Eva as just an actress. Eva has not only surpassed being a leading advocate for Latina women in the area of entertainment but she has taken it upon herself to become the model of what she stands and advocates for. Eva’s leadership drew her to return to school and receive a master’s degree writing her thesis on the lack of Latinas in the STEM field. Eva has developed into a leading philanthropist who leads through a new ecology of leadership by Latinas in the US through focusing on vital matters such as; politics, education, empowerment, innovation and advancing career opportunities for Latinas. Eva is a woman who simply “does” what others “think” of doing. Most recently her newest production “Telenovela” is completely composed of a 100 percent Latino cast.

As an unassailable advocate for undocumented people and as the first Latina Congresswoman from the great state of New Mexico, Lujan Grisham has diligently worked to support immigrant communities, dreamers, and families across the country. Most recently leading through her advocacy for comprehensive immigration reform and directly supporting immigrant women through the introduction of her HEAL Act legislation in 2014. Without a doubt Congresswoman.Lujan -Grisham is an exemplary model of what Washington politicians should encompass.

 

Liana Guerra
Special Projects Coordinator at DNC
As an undergraduate at the University of Florida, Liana founded Gators for Tuition Equity, which helped mobilize student activists throughout Florida to help ensure passage of in-state tuition for undocumented students. This was a huge deal. But Liana wasn’t done yet. Soon thereafter she helped elect the University of Florida’s first ever Latina student body president, serving as her campaign advisor in 2015 and later, as the Hispanic Student Association President for the university representing 8,000 Hispanics on campus. Her work earned her induction into inducted into university Hall of Fame. Now at the Democratic National Committee, Liana plays a key role in planning and executing special projects, including Democrats’ Univision debate on March 9 of this year.

 

Kaylie Hanson
Staff for NARAL

When it comes to advocating for women’s rights in the media, Kaylie Hanson is the best. It’s not just that she’s really great at her job, but that her commitment to women goes beyond career. When I heard that she was recently named National Communications Director at NARAL Pro-Choice America, I knew our collective Latina right to choose got safer. When I saw she did her first TV appearance in December with Alicia Menendez on ABC, it was obvious that Kaylie is a women’s media star in the making. See for yourself below.

 

Ginette Magana
Staff at The White House
The first time I met Ginette Magana was during President Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign in New Mexico. Nearly four years later, this amazing woman has been like a sister to me as I’ve navigated the frustrating waters of my DACA application. Washington is littered with self-promoters. Ginette is the opposite. She is humble, effective; totally a team player. Ginette understands that neither politics, nor policy, nor compassion are mutually exclusive.

 

Julie Rodriguez
Staff at The White House

As Deputy Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, Julie has tried to open the doors of the most-important gatherings to some Latinas during the Obama administration. It is thanks to women like Julie that many Latinas will be able to continue walking down the bridge of opportunity she has constructed with a path to the Oval Office.

She’s got a voice for radio and a look for TV and she brings it every weekday morning anchoring Despierta America. Catcha’s the female voice of a generation of morning show watchers who want the hard news and absurd entertainment that Despierta America offers. I really hope to meet Satcha someday to pick her brain about how she manages to keep her life, career, and stunning grace to perfectly intact year after year.

 

Arelis Hernandez
Politics Reporter at The Washington Post

When you Google Sophie Cruz, the top article in the search is written by Washington Post political reporter Arelis Hernandez. The same is true when yougoogle me. It’s top American newsroom Hispanas like Arelis, Satcha, Maria Elena, and Raquel Godos who make sure our stories get told.

 

Raquel Godos
Washington Correspondent for EFE

It’s no coincidence that last year Hillary Clinton gave Godos one of her first Hispanic interviews of the election. As EFE’s Washington Correspondent, Godos journalism is insider reporting, thoughtful narrative, and breathtaking Spanish prose. My family loved reading when Raquel Godos wrote our story.

 

Debra Haaland

A leading political activist with a long and storied history of working for the interests of the most vulnerable regardless of race, color, creed or economic status. Deb has worked to increase voter turnout in underrepresented communities for more than a decade. In 2015 Debra became the first native American woman in the country to serve as a State Democratic Party Chair and has not only demonstrated to be an ally and a strong supporter to Latina women but she has proven her passion for supporting immigrant women up the line and has taken direct actions to bring the voices of undocumented young women to the democratic table as pivotal leaders of tomorrow.

 

Dr. Jozi De León

Not only has this Latina been named a woman of influence, but she serves as a mentor and exemplary higher education leader to Latinas in the US and around the world. Through her leadership as Vice President for Equity and Inclusion at the University of New Mexico, Dr. Josephine “Jozi” De León brings a lifelong passion and extensive career focused on diversity to her role.Dr. De Leon is nationally recognized for her work in social justice issues and traditionally underrepresented students and has strongly supported young Latinas like myself through direct mentorship as first generation minority woman in academia through her leadership and experience as past Deputy Secretary for the Higher Education Department in the State of New Mexico.

 

State Senator Linda Lopez
New Mexico Legislature
When searching for a strong Latina advocate and role model in State politics, advocacy and leadership NM State Senator. Linda Lopez fills the shoes like no other. Her strong stance for being the advocate for minority women and specifically as a voice for Latinas throughout the state has truly taken her on a remarkable path of political leadership since she became the first-ever elected Hispana to the New Mexico State Legislature in 1996. Sen. Lopez has spent her public career fighting for the needs of those who most often do not have a voice in the halls of government, but make up such a large part of our populations. She has sponsored and pushed legislation aimed at ensuring that no child goes to bed hungry in our state, that no pregnant women is denied neonatal health care because their income status, and that Government serves its role in helping those most in need. Sen. Lopez is a NM pride and a Latina powerhouse whose experience continues to guide young Latinas aspiring to serve in elected office.