Led by the fierceless Ana Roca Castro — a Babble Voices contributor, LATISM founder, app developer and a gazillion other hats –along with other Latinos in Social Media (LATISM) leaders, and in partnership with Latina Bloggers Connect, a group of almost 70 Latina bloggers, calling themselves the Top Blogueras, were summoned for a briefing at the White House on Monday, May 21st.
The Top Blogueras came from all corners of the U.S. and Puerto Rico. There was a passionate mix of bloggers who write about parenting, fashion, savings, food, education, politics, feminism and more. The mix was eclectic enough to ignite heated, yet friendly, discussions on everything from social media to the role of Latinos in the U.S. These conversations were being had during the part of the event which was organized as a conference where the top Latina bloggers could learn and mentor each other, as well as from women with top positions in various companies, such as Babble´s very own Catherine Connors.
The most awaited part of the conference retreat was when we all hailed cabs to take us to the visitors gate of the Eisenhower Executive Building next to the West Wing of the White House. Once inside, we were escorted into a briefing room where we would be welcomed by Julie Rodriguez, Associate Director, Office of Public Engagement. She would also lead the panel discussion titled “Creating an America that is Built to Last” in which four Latinas from the White House staff would brief us on their initiatives that are catered for the Hispanic community, as well as take questions from the bloggers in the room. We discussed themes ranging from the Dream Act, bilingual education, children with disabilities, immigration, education, nutrition and more.
It’s hard to put into words the sense of community and empowerment all of us in that room felt at that moment. We had been summoned by the White House and flown to D.C. thanks to LATISM just because we have a voice and a community online. Each of us there felt a renewed sense of conviction for the words and messages we put out every day to our readers. The power of community reverberated throughout the White House that day. Our community had come together to be counted and let others know we must engage and be heard.
As for me, I now want to educate everyone even more about the benefits of a bilingual nation and making second language learning an option for all kids as early as possible. We realized that if we come together we are capable of getting our mission out as far as possible, even to the confines of the White House.
Pictures always tell a story best, and these below are imbued with the heart of this Latina community I adore.
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Photo credits: Rachel Mátos and Lynn Ponder
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Check out the forthcoming book I co-authored, Bilingual is Better: Two Latina Moms on How the Bilingual Parenting Revolution is Changing the Face of America.
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