Meet LA Vanguardia: The Latino innovators, instigators and power players breaking through barriers
By Maria Martinez Lopez
“A lion will not live with a lioness, even if both live in the same cage.”
When one thinks of Los Angeles, the images that come to mind are of luxury and the celebrities that fill the city’s glitzy shopping malls.
In the Latino community, the idea of luxury may be the antithesis of everything that we have in our hearts and minds, but we have come to find solace among one another. We believe that together, we can create a bright future for our communities. A future that allows us to live, work and thrive.
One place to start is at the very top, and that is at the top with our city’s most influential and powerful leader, Los Angeles City Council Member Mike Bonin. Bonin is a true champion of the Latino community.
Our community leaders have been at and made a difference for our city for decades now. We are fortunate in that way, to have leaders with vision, integrity and integrity.
I was raised by a single mom who showed my five-year-old daughter the importance of hard work and determination. I was the one who took our family on vacations and provided for us, making sure that I never had to go without. One day she came to visit me in my office and told me how proud she was of me. She said that she never wanted to be that mom. I asked her what she would do if ever she had to raise her five daughters and she said: “I’ll find a way to be a mom.”
I am still inspired by my mom, and still inspired by my daughters, who have had to do the same for me.
In my work as a leader in the Latino community here in Los Angeles, I am seeing a lot of the same values in action. As an elected official, my role is to serve the Latino community, and I firmly believe that our role as the elected Latino leader is to serve our community.
Many people think that elected leaders can only be a member of the community, and have no decision making capability. I disagree. Most elected leaders are the most informed, intelligent and creative people that I know. They are the leaders of their organizations, but they are also the leaders