Chief Transformation Officer at Community Health Councils
Los Angeles, CA
Can you explain your identity?
I was born and raised in Los Angeles and I lived in the Highland Park area for the majority of my youth until I went to Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine. After my Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology, I came back to HIghland Park and then since I was working in South Los Angeles, I purchased my first home in Jefferson Park near Baldwin Hills. I don’t identify myself by my parents for reasons that I don’t feel comfortable sharing. My father was the youngest of eleven, raised in East LA Boyle Heights area. My mom was half Mexican and half Puerto Rican from New York and my father was full Mexican. We also had Cuban in our lines. We didn’t speak very much Spanish in our home. My grandmother spoke to us in Spanish but did not force us to respond in Spanish. It is a secondary language for us.
My mother was the primary caretaker and she had challenges in her life. When I went to college, I was determined to never come back. I went as far away as I could. I then went to grad school at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor to get my Master’s Degree in Social Work. When my 14 year old sister got pregnant, I came home to support her and in the 23 years that I have helped her with what started out as one child has now become six. When I came back, I began working at the Girl’s Club. I am an American but I consider myself a Latina. I struggle with saying that I am Mexican or Puerto Rican. I am a mutt.