I know I’m not alone when I say that the last few months – heck, the last few days! – have been a lot to process. And that’s amplified by a bazillion when I feel like I’m constantly needing to confront how much I don’t know. I’m not saying I’m not informed or “woke” or however you want to put it, but I’ve been made very aware of how much work I have to do when it comes to understanding the nuances of the American experience – specifically when it comes to people who were not born here. Coming to terms with that information gap can be overwhelming. But we can’t let it be paralyzing.
We all have a story of moving forward fearlessly on a big or small scale. Some of us are in the middle of our own right now – and I want to learn about them all. So instead of reading a crapton (I have been) and learning in just a few months what seems like more than I did in an entire year of school (also true) and then regurgitating the information to you (down to do that!), I thought I’d do what I would want to listen to right now: talk to someone who knows a lot more about this stuff than I do and has personally experienced it firsthand.Activism is as small as going conversation by conversation. Click To Tweet
Brenda Gonzalez is co-host and co-creator of Tamarindo, a socially conscious podcast she co-hosts with Ana Sheila Victorino. Together, Ana and Brenda Sheila delve into discussions on identity, race, gender, representation, and life. Recommended by NPR’s Latino USA, they interview comedians, artist, activist, and those that want to shake things up in their community. Brenda has over 15 years of experience working with nonprofit organizations, most recently with a national Latino civil rights organization, the National Council of La Raza – which is the country’s largest Latino nonprofit advocacy organization. She is also the Board Chair of Los Angeles Education Partnership, an education nonprofit working in high poverty communities to foster great schools.
Bonus points – she’s my former neighbor! Brenda and her husband Jeff (and pup, Frieda, who Jeremy and I nicknamed “The Happiest Dog In The Universe”) were some of my first friends in DTLA and some of the best neighbors I’ve ever had. I was always impressed by Brenda’s immense knowledge on the topics of activist work, non-profits, civil rights, and immigration, and the way she could put a fun, engaging spin on otherwise complicated and slightly overwhelming topics. When she first talked to me about wanting to start a podcast focusing on Latino social, cultural, and political issues, I knew it would be a hit just because of her personality. What I didn’t realize is how much I, someone who is not a member of the Latinx community, would get out of it on a weekly basis.
In the episode we talk about Brenda’s experience coming into the United States from Mexico as a four year old, the complications that come with wanting to become a citizen (or even just go to school!), how she began working with non-profits, and how a dark diagnosis in her family led them to the lives they are leading today. We also talk Brenda’s experience at the Women’s March in Washington D.C, the power of simply having conversations, and what YOU can do to make a difference in your own community even if you don’t have a background in politics or civil rights.
This is a must-listen, must-share…all the musts.
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