• Lissa Ng

IGTV Show - Overcoming the Afro-Latina stereotypes - Como e' la cosa Series

Updated: Aug 28, 2020

>Full Episodes on IGTV tab @LissaNgS_

>Highlights on #reel tab @comoelacosa

I met Luz at the Year Up Program in Boston. The first time I saw her I remember she came down fearlessly, full of confidence, and being cheered on to interview the Founder of the program Gerald C.

As she spoke, I could see the way she was so comfortable with herself and I said to myself "Wow, I wish I had the confidence she has", I have to confess I was intimidated.

When I first time interacted with her, I received a wave of warm and positive energy. I always remember her with love. We stayed in touch through social media and I would see her doing great things, helping kids, and making a social change!

Below is her BIO

"Luz Villar is an Afro-Latina woman born and raised in Massachusetts. She currently serves as the Executive Assistant for United States Representative Ayanna Pressley of the 7th Congressional District of Massachusetts.

Working full-time, Luz also was a full-time student at Cambridge College where she graduated in 2017 earning her bachelor’s degree in Business Management. Making her the first in her family to graduate high school and college.

Due to the adversity Luz faced in her life, from domestic and drug violence to being in the foster care system, she has dedicated herself to mentoring youth, especially young girls. Not only is Luz a Big Sister for the Big Sister Association of Greater Boston she also leads the Youth Advisory Council for Congresswoman Pressley which is a coalition of young people that come together to work on policy, community organizing, and civic engagement.

Luz continues to speak to young people across the country about overcoming adversity and using it to their advantage. She has been recognized as a Big Igniter by the Big Sister Association of Greater Boston and as a nominee for Boston’s top 30 Latinos Under 30 by El Mundo Boston. Luz aspires to continue her work as a public servant in government, challenging the systems that disproportionately impact marginalized communities and families like hers."

I learned when we spoke, that at the time she was at Year Up, she was homeless, this truly shocked me as I saw how positive she was all the time. A little reminder for me and all of us, to never assume and to always be kind as we do not know the battles they are going through. Every single day she had to think of where she would be sleeping that night, and what she would eat.

She said that this program gave her hope, is where she could finally see the light at the end of the tunnel, this was her chance and she was determined to get the most out of it. She networked, she met all the teachers and connections and built a relationship with everyone she could.

Luz came from a "broken family" and was a foster kid for many years after being kicked out of the social services housing, this made her move constantly about 22 times between the ages of 9-12, she is grateful of all those families that helped her, and mainly because 90% of them were Dominican families, where she learned to speak, write and read in Spanish!

She was constantly told by adults, that she would get pregnant or drop out of school at the age of 14 because it was expected from her for being an Afro-Latina, not saying that this is a wrong choice, but the fact that they wanted to fit her in a box and meant this to be like a failure. So, every time she reached a milestone without doing the stereotype the more she wanted to see for herself how far she could go.

The unfortunate fact I learned was that Foster kids in the United States, only 10% go to college and less than 3% get to graduate. This was what motivated her to be a Big Sister, she knew she was not the only one going through her situation, so because she found the ways to not fall into the mold, she was determined to help others too :)

Luz worked in a corporate bank in finance for a few years, eventually, she landed a job with Ayanna Pressley, however, this wasn't easy either, she dealt with anxiety, the self-doubt of not being enough and thought she was not fit for the role, as she had never worked in politics before, it took three months and to the point, she thought she didn't get it. BUT things she did have were her ability to connect with the people, lead the community and speak Spanish :)

At first, she started with small tasks, and eventually, Ayanna saw her potential and asked her to be the Executive Assistant, Luz said no at this opportunity first, and something her boss told her was "I see more in you than you see in yourself"

She proudly talked about how Ayanna ran against a congressman that has been there for about 20 years, and she was selected, first Black person to win! and a WOMAN! a Black Congresswoman! (insert clapping). Luz looks up to Ayanna, not just for her courage but also because she truly cares about the people. And we both agreed that we see politicians as people that deep down doesn't really care about anyone but themselves.

The most basic thing we should know is that Politics and Government are two separate entities. Politics need the Government, but the Government does not need politics but does need the people and the people are the ones that choose who will be in Politics. We have to look into each representative allies and make sure that what their work is, is what works for you. And VOTE!!

It was such a pleasure to catch up with Luz, like her name she is light, a beautiful soul.

I felt truly empowered after our talk. It gives me so much hope that our future generations have people like her to look up to.

Did you know about Foster? How much do you know about politics?

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