Creciendo Juntos

Creciendo Juntos

LEARNING, LEADING AND GROWING TOGETHER.

For this month’s Latinx Spotlight I got to interview Elizabeth Valtierra. Elizabeth is a young Latina with the desire and fire to bring positive change and awareness to and about our Latinx communities. Elizabeth is also envolved in our Creciendo Education Work Group as well as our Latinx Leadership Initiative. Interested in learning more about this inspiring young woman? Here’s what she has to say:

K: Could you tell us your name, age, where you are from and where you go to school?

E: My name is Elizabeth Valtierra and I am nineteen years old. I was born in Arizona, grew up in Florida, and now I currently reside in Charlottesville, Virginia. I also attend Piedmont Virginia Community College.

K: How do you define yourself and the role you play within our community?

E: Growing up Mexican-American, I found myself conflicted with several sides of my cultural identity and my adopted identity. In other word, I found myself in situations where I’m confronted with my privileges while still being a minority. Personally, I found it challenging to accept or even understand how certain aspect in life does not come easy to my undocumented family members as it does to me. With that in mind, this pushes me to learn on using my resources to benefit their situations. For example, my bilinguality, while my translation skills are not sharp, I still try to bridge a connection for any monolingual speakers on both side. As I like to say, I try to use my privileges as a leverage for others.

K: How has coming to Charlottesville shaped your experience as a Latinx individual?

E: When I moved to Charlottesville, I was already twelve years old. The lack of an apparent Latinx community was a cultural shock as I moved from a town in Florida where strong and generational Latinx communities resided in. While living in Florida, my Mexican identity was not an apparent factor in my life. However, after moving to Charlottesville, being Mexican became a very profound stamp on my forehead. Over the years, the Latinx community grows faster and stronger as well as my involvement within the community. It’s still a struggle because I am more dominant with my American identity, but as the Latinx community grows, so does my consciousness toward my Mexican identity.

K: Could you tell us about your interests and passions both in working with the Latinx community of Charlottesville and anything else you enjoy doing?

E: One of my main interest in working within the Latinx community is strengthening the road of education. This is where my privileges lies in. Due to my naturalized citizenship, I found that I had various options and resources in making sure my academic career grows successfully. Yet, in my own household, I saw how lacking those resources are, if you don’t have citizenship. It’s simply unfair and frustrating that higher education, an urgency for future generations, is often treated as a privilege rather as a right. Thus, this consciousness urges me to build bridges to diminish the gaps that are unnecessarily wide for students of immigrant parents and immigrant students with academic goals.
K: What are some other personal goals you have?

E: I would love to publish a book of all my poems that I wrote over the years of growing up.

K: What do you love about being Latinx?

E: One thing I love about being Latina is having a wider range of music. We grow up listening to our parent’s favorite oldie songs, the classic Quinceañera must-play songs, nowaday hits, embarrassing favorites (in my case, RBD), to whatever’s hot on America’s chart. Music truly has no languages, just memories.

K: What message would you like to share with other Latinx people your age?

E: A message i would like to share with other Latinx people my age is to simply be unashamed of your cultural background and to maintain patience with it as well. There is a struggle of learning progressively as well as being true to your culture to many of my Latinx peers.

By Karina A. Monroy
Click Here for November 2018 Newsletter

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