I am originally from Los Angeles, having moved to Rochester in 2007 to pursue my Bachelor’s in Psychology at the University of Rochester. As an undergraduate, I quickly enmeshed myself within Rochester’s large and impressive LGBTQ+ community. I volunteered on the University of Rochester’s SafeZone Committee, and served on the executive board of its undergraduate Pride Network. I spent an additional year in the Kauffman Entrepreneurial Program working on efforts to create an LGBTQ+ resource center for the college community. As a student in a new city, I benefitted from many of the programs that the Out Alliance (formerly the Gay Alliance of the Genesee Valley) offered, such as its CollegeOut programming. I was lucky to have been helped by many of the resources within Rochester; I want to ensure that similar services continue for the future.
I continue my involvement in the community today. I currently work with the Rochester Victory Alliance, where I assist in the search for a safe and effective vaccine against HIV. I am a graduate of the United Way’s Pride Leadership Development Program, where I was trained in non-profit board leadership. I maintain active involvement in the rich, vibrant LGBTQ+ life that abounds within the area.
I am a proud Chicano. My mom’s side of the family hails from a long line of Tejanos. My grandmother on my dad’s side emigrated from Mexico to provide a better life for her family. As a board member, my goal is to amplify the voices of my fellow Latines. I am but one part of the Latine experience; my goal is to help bring more of us to the table. Beyond my own voice, I aim to boost those of my fellow Black and Brown LGBTQ+ community members.
I want to acknowledge and thank the people who have helped make Rochester the place it is today: the countless activists in pursuit of justice and equity; the employees and volunteers of the Alliance who poured their blood, sweat, and tears to make a dream a reality; the caregivers, many of them women, who served our siblings as the government ignored the plague feasting on our community; the allies that stood shoulder to shoulder with us as we marched for our rights. There are countless others that I cannot even begin to thank.
I also want to recognize the hurt and pain that still throbs within the community. While I cannot offer a salve that will instantly fix and heal, I humbly hope to help take actions to rebuild trust, begin the long and slow process of healing, promote accountability, and help bring a lens of restorative justice. While I know these are just words on a screen, I simply hope that I can prove my sincerity by matching them to action.
It is my hope that we can create something greater together. The time has come for an organization that serves us all equally. It will be a long path, but I believe it is possible.
I look forward to meeting and communicating with many of you in the months that follow. I leave my metaphorical door open to all of you. Please, reach out to me to discuss anything at all. I welcome you with an open heart.