Image: “The Latinas and Power” Facebook page
By: Brianny Aybar
If you think that Latinos are only in California, Texas, Florida, Chicago and New York, you are wrong. Connecticut has been a city to give Latinas power, for 15 years.
In a state where there is a population of 540,000 Hispanics, they make up 15 percent of Connecticut’s population. With almost half of the population in Hartford, Connecticut being made up of Hispanics, it is not a surprise that many of the events that uplift and empower its residents are organized for and by Latinos.
One of the best examples of this evolving reality, is the “Latinas and Power” symposium, an annual gathering of Latina professionals in New England, which hosted its 15th annual event on last May 17th. This groundbreaking event was founded in 2004 by Marilyn Alverio, who says she learned early on the significance of the roles Latinas have in this country.
“What I know for sure is that it takes Latinas to help other mujeres. Only we can give voice to relatable stories of joy, triumph, disappointment, pain, and circumstances,” Alverio said in a letter on her website.
This full-day event was packed with guest speakers, workshops, and vendors. The Keynote speaker was leading Republican Latino political commentator, Ana Navarro. Navarro spoke about the Trump administration, its effect on the Latino community, and about how we must fight back. Navarro shared her thoughts about how the actions, as well as the inactions, of president Trump were deplorable.
“Kicking Hispanic anchors out of press conferences is deplorable, making fun of a disabled person is disgustingly deplorable, not using your presidential bully pulpit to denounce acts of hate and bigotry is deplorable,” Navarro said.
Navarro managed to speak out about a lot of controversial issues surrounding the presidency while still engaging the audience with jokes and laughs, keeping the energy in the room high and intimate.
Workshops were set up for guests to have a more personal experience in which they were able to get more information about wealth building, professional development, and entrepreneurship hosted by successful Latina women in those fields.
Towards the end of the event, an award ceremony was held to award local Connecticut organizations that went above and beyond in their efforts to provide relief for Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. Mayor of San Juan, Carmen Yulin Cruz was given the honor of presenting the awards, including giving one to a fourth-grade girl, Nevinna Gravseth-Roman, who had the initiative of conducting a toy drive for children in devastated areas by the hurricane. Nevinna was able to deliver 1,300 toys to Puerto Rico during the holiday season.
The success of this “Latinas and Power” event has led it to be one of the largest events of its kind in the New England area and has managed to last 15 years, which proves how strong the latinidad is in Connecticut. The empowerment and knowledge that is being given during events like this is what leads to a brighter future of Latinas in this country.