Foto Clarisse Cespedes for Onlinista

Unsung Latinas who give back to the community

Meet Sarahí Espinoza, a top student who was accepted in UCLA but could not afford to go because she was undocumented. She then started a website ( to help other students like her go to college because at some point she found out that with more information and research she could have made it.

Sarahí obtained her deferred action card and returned to college to study journalism and communications. She was selected by Mark Zuckerberg to participate in the Facebook hackathon for the immigration reform.

Meet América Gutiérrez, a peruvian political activist who had to leave her country and four kids behind to seek political asylum in the US. She worked tirelessly to reunite with her kids. “Coming here cost me a lot” says América, who volunteers in a South San Francisco high school to help Latinos finish their studies. Her goal is to empower hispanic parents: “we must educate ourselves to request a better education for our children”.

Meet Jazmín Morelos, the founder of Babylon´s Train, an internet and TV program she launched with her partner to support local, unprivileged artists focusing on Latino arts and social awareness. All the material she produces is bilingual so it can reach Latinos and Americans.

Morelos was born in Tijuana, Mexico, into a family of painters and designers and, like Sarahí and América, she wants to “give back to her community”.

These three women were among the eight awarded as Mujeres Destacadas last Thursday, an event organized by El Mensajero.

I just love the idea. Not only does it remind me of who I am but it shows the true and honest giving nature of latinos. The one that gave me the support I needed to “survive” as a single mom so far away from my country and family. Events like this make us stronger as a community.

Being immigrants shapes us in many ways. As Gloria Estefan puts it in Latino Americans,”immigration means it all gets to be part of your identity”. But we always stay strongly connected to our roots. Gathering the whole family for a meal, bringing a family member to our house or taking care of each other´s kids are all ways we donate and volunteer just because it blends in with our nature.

Blanca Garza, Telemundo48´s TV anchor reminded those who attended this award cerimony that coming from humble origins is not an excuse for failure. We have the mission to succeed and led by the example of remarkable women like these we need to take our giving nature one step further and give back success to our community.

Other women who were awarded:

Amanda Almonte (Arts & Culture): Advisor of World Arts West. With her experience in business she supports cultural groups.

Leticia Landa (Business and Technology): Deputy Director of La Cocina, a project that helps immigrant entrepreneurs launch food companies. (You don´t want to miss this project, click on the link above to find more abour this non-profit)

Jessica Ruvalcaba (Business and Technology), Marketing manager for Cisco Systems.

María Leticia Gómez (Community Leadership), News Anchor for Univision14, San Francisco.

Laura Cuéllar (Education and Health), Senior Marketing Rep. for St. Jude´s Children Research Hospital.

Clarisse Céspedes

Journalist and Content Strategist. SEO, sponsorships and video. Follow me on Facebook and @ClarisseCespede.

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