Latinx LEE members serve in political leadership roles across this country – here are a few of their stories.
Did you know Latinx and Hispanic Americans only make up 2% of elected officials nationwide, despite comprising nearly 20% of our total population? At a time in our country when politics can be divisive and communities split by decisions about school curriculum, healthcare access, wage disparities, and so much more, it’s imperative we increase diverse representation in public leadership. That’s why this month, in honor and celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, we are excited to amplify Latinx and Hispanic civic leadership.
Over the past ten years, 173 LEE members that identify as Latinx or Hispanic have run for elected office. Of these members, 102 identify as Latina, and they boast a win rate of more than 68% for their elected office seats.
To the Latinx LEE members currently serving in community and state leadership roles around the country – whether in elected roles or policy, advocacy, or organizing roles: we see you. Fighting for better services and resources for students, equitable policies, safer neighborhoods, and other community improvements is not an easy task. We’re grateful for your leadership.
Right now is the time to step forward to serve. Read more about the stories of leaders who have stepped forward.
Celebrating Latinx Leaders Who Serve in Elected Office
Kelly Garcia, School Board Chair
Kelly serves on the school committee in her hometown of Chelsea, Massachusetts. She surprised everyone in her community when she became the youngest member and Vice Chairwoman of the Chelsea School Committee. She ran for office when she was just 21-years-old while serving as a full-time teacher. As a proud Puerto Rican, Kelly says, “Representation matters. When students come to your meetings and see a familiar face, it brings a smile to their face.” In Kelly’s nearly eight years serving in office, she has tackled issues from student enrollment to school safety to pursuing an equity agenda. She was unanimously selected as Chairperson in 2020.
Luisa Santos, School Board Member
Luisa serves as a school board member in Miami-Dade County Public Schools. She is also a small business owner and former educator in Miami. Luisa says that her own lived experience as a public school student is what motivated her to step forward. “My ‘why’ is that I was an undocumented student in our schools and I know the potential that exists in all of our students that we don’t tap into and don’t support the way we should. And so at the end of the day, I know how many students are sitting in our classrooms today that have just as much, if not more potential than I did.” As a school board leader, she’s able to help provide the resources and opportunities to help students succeed.
Celebrating Latinx Leaders Who Serve in Policy, Advocacy, and Organizing Roles
Andrea Ramirez, Communications Manager at The Education Trust
Andrea serves as a communications manager at The Education Trust, liaising with various state offices to achieve policy and messaging goals. Andrea is a product of Mexican immigrant parents with planted roots in San Antonio, TX. Her parents, at an early age, instilled in her the importance and value of an education. It was navigating through different schooling systems growing up where she took note of the disparities in educational opportunities present for students of color and from low-income backgrounds. In her career, Andrea has served as a teacher and community organizer and has taken part in several education policy and advocacy fellowships. As a LEE Public Policy Fellow, Andrea worked as a Communications Liaison with the Office of Regional Operations in the Administration for Children and Families within the U.S Department of Health and Human Services. Andrea’s focus has always been to ensure that the road to educational equity is led by the voices on the ground shaping policies and practices.
Annie Rojas, Principal Research Consultant, Illinois State Board of Education
Annie works as a Principal Research Consultant for the Illinois State Board of Education where her research focuses on examining resource allocation and public school funding systems. Her work recently culminated in a 5-year evaluative study of Illinois’ Evidence Based Funding formula, which included robust quantitative analysis and personal interviews regarding district- and school-level spending decisions. Annie started with the Illinois State Board of Education as a LEE Public Policy Fellow. She also serves as a member of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council for Teach for America’s Greater Chicago-Northwest Indiana region, where she provides input on the region’s strategic plan, among other responsibilities. Prior to her current positions, Annie worked at a civil rights and public interest law firm and taught middle school in Baltimore City. Annie is also a pursuing a Master of Arts in Public Policy at the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy.
Invest in Diverse Candidates
SparkLeadership is an initiative of Leadership for Educational Equity to support diverse political leaders. To honor Hispanic Heritage Month we are raising money to support Latinx LEE members who are currently running for office.
Find Your Path Forward with LEE
LEE members know that strong leaders cannot act alone. From filing for your candidacy to campaigning to passing legislation, leaders need support. The LEE network is here to support you every step of the way and provide the guidance you need to be successful.
No matter where you are in your journey, you’re invited to talk to a LEE coach. You have what it takes to serve in elected office, and we look forward to helping you get there!