LeadBoston Alum to Host Amplify Latinx Conference March 10, 2018
Click play above to listen to Eneida’s full interview or read the transcription below:
I had heard about LeadBoston through the community at large, but two years ago, a friend of mine, who is an alumni, posted on social media that they were seeking candidates for 2017. This was something that I had always been interested in looking into but had not made time for. Given some of the work that I have been doing, I figured that there was a lot of alignment and synergy with LeadBoston and so I called [my friend] and she put me in touch with YW Boston. Now here I am, an alumni.
First of all, it was a wonderful experience. I’m a lawyer and a psychologist and I’m in tune with a lot of issues on inequity and injustice in society at large. I knew that coming into this program, I was going to connect with other like-minded leaders, leaders that are here because we all believe in equity and we all believe in making the world a better place.
Going through this program was transformative. I knew what was going on at a certain level, but one thing is knowing and understanding through the lens of a client, or a person that you’ve met, or issues that come up, generally speaking, but it’s another thing to really do a deeper dive into the social economic issues surrounding our communities here in Boston. It was intense at moments, but in the end, I think we all came out a little bit richer in our perspectives.
Before I came to LeadBoston, I had already co-founded this incredible network of Latina women, and allies of course, because is not only Latinas, who are focused on increasing the visibility of Latinas and are focused on creating opportunities of growth, of impact and influence for Latinas.
The purpose of Latina Circle, our mission, is to create opportunities of growth and power. We’re definitely aligned with YW Boston because we’re focused on women, and we’re focused on women who have not had the same opportunities, be it because of social economic limitations, or any other limitation. We started with women only, but Amplify Latinx, a project of Latina Circle, focuses on having more impact, having more influence and getting more Latinos engaged in understanding the importance of civic engagement. With Amplify Latinx we broadened to also include men. We understand that it’s not only women’s problems, this is [about everyone]. Men and women, they need to support each other, right?
What we do is bring women leaders in, for instance, one woman leader, at our inaugural Cafecito [gathering], was former US attorney, Carmen Ortiz. It’s not every day that the average woman gets to be in a room with Carmen Ortiz! So, having an intimate setting where you listen to her story and then have the opportunity to go up to her, say hello, and speak to her one-on-one, is not something that you would have in an average event that you would go to, those big events that we all go to here in Boston. That [intimacy] created a sense of community and a lot of women felt very energized as they left the room. We basically replicated [this event] and continued doing it for five years. We just celebrated our 5th anniversary. We’ve always wanted to keep it relatively intimate, so, the biggest event we have hosted, which was last summer, was about 300 people that we had for our conference. We’re going to host a second conference now, in the Spring [Amplify Latinx: Moving From Intention to Action, March 10, 2018]. We’re aiming to have 100+ people. It’s about bringing leaders together who are really invested. Not only that they want to learn about the issues that we talk about, and that we want to address, but [we want to bring in] the people who want to roll up their sleeves and do the work. The plan for this conference is to bring together this 100+ group of leaders who will address the issues that are most important for Latinos in Massachusetts so that we can have a shared agenda.
Obviously, we have issues of income inequality. We have issues of immigration. Issues of housing for a lot of people. We have education. The education gap is a huge issue. How do we identify the priorities for our group so that we can advocate and speak out on behalf of those who don’t have a voice and maybe don’t know how to do this? It’s a lot of work, but it’s a lot of work that is done with love and a lot of dedication. Our goal is to ensure that we have a more equitable future for Latinos in Massachusetts. As we’ve seen in these reports that have come out in the Wall Street Journal and USA Today, the reports that show how Massachusetts is one of the most inequitable states for Latino’s given the huge income and socioeconomic gap.
As part of LeadBoston, you have a project that you have to commit to and that is focused on the core mission of the YW, so, I said hey, that’s not going to be hard for me! I’m already involved in doing something that is very aligned with YW Boston’s mission. I presented at the end of the year and I said, ‘This is what I’m doing. I’m the co-founder of Latina Circle and we started this initiative that is called Amplify Latinx. Focused on increasing civic engagement, and leadership across sectors, and we’re going to continue doing that.’ Betsy, one of my classmates, she leads an organization that is focused on girls and financial literacy. I was telling her about [Amplify Latinx] and when she told me what she was doing, I was like, ‘Oh my god, we can work together!’ So now, we actually have a workshop set for March 23rd.
[With the Amplify Latinx conference and Latina Circle] our goal is to build power for Latinos. We welcome anybody who is interested and wants to be our ally. You don’t have to be Latino. We have people from different races and ethnicities that are part of our circle, but the essential elements are, a commitment to fairness, equity and making sure that we all rise together. We want to ENGAGE all of the leaders who are committed, regardless of whether they are Latino or not. We want to COLLABORATE with each other because we want to create a shared agenda and a coalition. And we want to BUILD POWER. We want to make sure that we get all voices at the table. Only when you have all voices at the table, that’s when you really have a rich conversation and rich results for the community. It is in our best interest to have everybody at the table, so, we welcome you.
To learn more about Eneida’s work, visit LatinaCircle.com. Also, please help us spread the word about her Amplify Latinx conference happening March 10, 2018, at the Egan Research Center, in the Raytheon Auditorium on the Northeastern University campus.