Latinitas Magazine

A Strong Voice For Latina Youth

Party for Chica Power Receives Support From Austin City Leaders

posted April 25, 2019 | in College & Career by Rita J. Olivares Cervantes

Women have been at the forefront of fighting against injustice and corruption and hold more leadership positions than ever before  across the nation whether it is in state legislature or local government. Austin-based nonprofit Latinitas, which empowers young girls of color through media and technology,  was surrounded by the support and appreciation of Austin’s local city government during a press conference that took place at the Austin City Hall on April 23, for Latinitas’ annual fundraiser Party for Chica Power.

Latinitas with Angelica Erazo, Lizette Melendez, Mayor Pro Tem Delia Garza, Natasha Madison Harper, Mayor Steve Adler, Maria “Lulu” Flores, and Sabino “Pio” Renteria.

“Many families have sought out Latinitas for our low or no cost programs. Event fundraisers like Latinitas Party for Chica Power let’s us charge one of the lowest price points for camp, do programming in public housing, present free family workshops and conduct the only bilingual tech education after school classes for no cost to the girls attending, ” said Laura Donnelly, Latinitas founder and CEO, “And it’s our most fun and most Latino way we raise money during the year – with mariachis, Loteria, fun prizes to win, great music and Latino fare – we celebrate everything “Latinitas” so we can support our Latinitas.” Mayor Steve Adler also demonstrated his support alongside other city leaders.  “In their 17 years, they have served over 33,000 Latinas and other girls,” he said. heir recipe is teaching digital media, tech, cultural literacy and it is working in a really big way.” Adlercalled this a phenomenon that is  occurring now. “The byproduct of the empowerment that comes from the Latinitas culture and the core of these confidence-building programs,” he added. “[This phenomenon] arose because many of the girls that are involved in the program want to use their 21st century skills to explore political leadership and advocacy and in fact, we now find that Latinitas alumnas are in public policy and fellowships in Washington D.C. and even here in our local government such as Lizette Melendez, who is a Policy Advisor for Council Member Sabino “Pio” Renteria.”

Donnelly expressed the amazement to see the organization grow from the fledgling idea of 17 years ago. “Latinitas has such humble beginnings – two students, myself and Alicia Rascon, in a class hungry to improve the representation of Latinos in media and tech and it’s become so much more,” she said. “Yes, alumni are going into those fields, but they are also becoming public leaders, bilingual educators and entrepreneurs – creating spaces which weren’t there before. Growth has let us build leadership, too, within the organization changing Austin’s non-profit landscape which can be very monolithic, very White.  

“Where is Latinitas going? A legacy is in full force – mentees who have become mentors and are leading programming themselves, alumni in the corporate sector reaching back to help and most of all – the confirmation that all it takes is creating a safe, inclusive space and the talent and innovation will come,” she added.That early origin is taking Latinitas to South Texas, San Francisco, CA and the way things are going more cities in and outside of Texas!””

To what inspires the creation of these groundbreaking programs, Program Director Sylvia Butanda said: “The majority of the time the girls say it is something interesting to them and it is something that they want to explore more. What motivates me is knowing that every program we put out there we want to do it well and we want to do it where a girl will walk away feeling more confident and feeling more empowered and continue her education in media and tech and journey of self-expression, self-esteem and self-confidence.”

Latinitas invites you to purchase your tickets to the Power for Chica fundraiser, which takes  place this Saturday, April 24 at 6 p.m. at Center For Social Innovation event space . Tickets are still available and all proceeds will be going to funding workshops that help young girls break glass ceilings.

Latinitas staff with Maria “Lulu” Flores