Describe your work:
I founded a non-profit to create awareness of dating violence and to prevent domestic violence. I’ve given more than 300 conferences in schools, universities, communities, churches or wherever invited. Since I’ve been so active, I also got into policy to eradicate violence. After all my activism I got a job at the Senate because of proposals of bills I wrote to criminalize dating violence, among other policy I’ve been able to write. In the Senate, I’m the Director of the Committee for Women Issues which means any legislation related to gender and women will pass through here. I have to do everything so it goes through the democratic process for it to become law (public hearings, etc to be approved in Senate) and then House, maybe signed by the Governor and becomes a Law.
Education & Training: I have a Bachelors of Arts in Journalism with a minor in Gender Studies from the University of Puerto Rico, a Masters in Science in Mass Communication from Florida International University and I’m doing a PhD in History of Puerto Rico and the Caribbean. I also have 2 post-graduate degrees/certificates -one in documentary filmmaking and other in Diplomacy and International Relations (I’m happy to study so much, a proud #latinathatreads a lot). I’ve been volunteering since I was 14. I believe a great tool to prepare for my career was to develop experience. I applied to an internship in 2006 where I worked with Nancy Pelosi, it was a joint program of The Washington Center with PR and Government. After that, I participated in an internship with HACU, Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities. While studying Journalism I became an active member of the National Association of Hispanic Journalist, where I have served in the Board for 4 years in different positions. I believe the best thing about college were extra curricular activities, applying to internships and saving money to travel. I have traveled with my school in several occasions and I believe it was the best thing I invested in. A lot of people are afraid to be alone because they think they can’t handle situations. It is when you are alone and abroad that you confront yourself and everything you are. When you succeed in doing something, you gain self love and freedom. Being independent and seeing what you are worth is the best thing about the college experience.
How did you find your current job?
I found my current job doing a media tour. I wrote 2 bills (drafts) and I gave 20 conferences in a month. I was proposing a law so that February (as US does already) is declared Dating Violence Awareness Months in Puerto Rico. I wrote a Dating Violence Law. After doing an educational campaign and sending several press releases, I got a Senator to interview me, I landed the job!
What is your favorite part of your job?
I love my job because I feel very complete. I’m having a salary for the first time to do my activism all day. The financial road has been really rocky, but I’ve been blessed that all this work has paid off and I know I have a bunch more to give!
What is the most challenging part of your job?
The most challenging part is balancing life. I think there’s a lot of pressure given to women in politics. I have heard many times that I can do this job because I don’t have kids yet. People have questioned why am I not married yet. This is clearly a gender issue, I don’t see people asking that to any guys working here. However, a lot of people see me as a motivation. Every time I feel I help save a life through education or legislation I feel blessed. I have been through two open heart surgeries and I need one more next year. To have a job like this requires a lot of sacrifices and hour; however, we need to balance our personal life with our professional life. I don’t have kids yet, but when I do, I plan to work as hard. Kids and family to a women should be a motivation not a limitation. Is very important to have support from your family. If by any chance you don’t have family support, you are broke or you have a health or personal issue, look for strength and remember we are warriors. See yourself in the mirror and say “yo valgo mucho” (I am worth a lot). Spread the word of solidarity. The world needs more peace instead of violence and it starts with a smile.
No seas víctima del silencio
Don’t become a victim of silence