How being Latinx influenced my Leadership and Service

Being Latina, my leadership and service style is centered around community. Seeing the hardships the community I am apart of, as well as many others, have experienced, inspires me to help. Whether it be through leading, advocacy, or guidance, I am here to give in any way to communities who need it. Growing up, I was never in touch with my culture, despite being surrounded by it, whether in language, music, or shows. I chose to be ignorant and turn a blind eye to something that holds so much importance in not just my life, but others as well. It was not until I went into high school, where I began to understand why my culture was so important to me.

In my sophomore year of high school, I joined the mariachi group, low-funded, and under-acknowledged. This was the first time I had ever joined anything that included cultural aspects. I traveled to San Antonio for competitions, where I was surrounded by so much culture and talent, that my eyes began to open. I finally understood the power of the community. I did not know these people or other mariachi groups, but we all spoke the language of Mariachi. Something that propels the history and culture of Mexico in such a beautiful way. Through this, my interest to advocate for programs similar to this, as well as the culture itself began to grow.

This mindset traveled up into my college years, where I joined a folklórico group at UNT, or better known as FOLXLÓRICO (Folklórico de North Texas at my time of joining). Having this been a first-time Folklorico group at UNT, it surprisingly did not receive a lot of attention (Note: attention is not important, but representation is.) Not too long after my joining, I was given an opportunity to lead this group alongside many other great leaders. Through many performances and events, it was clear to me that my culture was something extremely tokenized and unfortunately, this is still an issue. Today as a group, we continue to advocate, lead, and guide people and ourselves into a knowledgeable direction that will benefit our community as well as those around us. Through these two notable life experiences, today I stand as a person of leadership and service that strives to make the community better for the underrepresented. It is so important for people to have a voice, give a voice, and share a voice. These communities around us would not strive if it were not for each other.