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MEET PROSPERA'S ENTREPRENEURS

Interview with Claudia Arroyo

"Latina women are emblematic of constant struggle.Since birth she has to resist and emerge just because of her sex. This makes her powerful in a man’s world. Latina power emerges from that which oppresses her. It’s very common to see women who raise their children alone; women who juggle time, able to a million things at once; women who sell, invent, are entrepreneurial, and don’t know that they are...strong women who are main providers for their families; women who resist machismo and misogyny; women who live between the blessing and the curse of a culture that celebrates her on the one hand and condemns on the other. Latina women’s power is the resilience and resistance that flourishing in the midst of all of these struggles. Latina power is also the hope for healing the community."

How are you connected to Prospera?

I’ve been working at Prospera for two and a half years. Right now I am the Community Education Director.

What inspires you most about our mission?

What most inspires me is knowing that we are not just creating businesses. We are also creating pathways for women to recognize their power and capacity to lead and create prosperity for themselves, their families and the community.

How would you describe your immigration story?

What are some key phrases that best describe it? I arrived to this country almost 20 years ago. I graduated from one of the most prestigious universities in Latin America, Tec de Monterrey and within a month after graduating I was in the US helping my mother who was sick. For 12 years I worked in the food industry and I learned something you could never learn in a university.
That is respect and admiration for the immigrant community that is in every corner growing this county’s economy. Some key words are pain, invisibility, yearning, sadness, fear, insecurity all mixed up with respect, pride, solidarity, strength, evolution, dignity. Mi immigrant experience defines a big part of who I am, what I believe and what I do. It’s a lens that has had painful moments that have molded my life. I am proudly immigrant!

What does Latina power mean to you?

Latina women are emblematic of constant struggle. Since birth she has to resist and emerge just because of her sex.
This makes her powerful in a man’s world. Latina power emerges from that which oppresses her. It’s very common to see women who raise their children alone; women who juggle time, able to a million things at once; women who sell, invent, are entrepreneurial, and don’t know that they are...strong women who are main providers for their families; women who resist machismo and mysogeni; women who live between the blessing and the curse of a culture that celebrates her on the one hand and condemns on the other.
Latina women’s power is the resilience and resistance that flourishing in the midst of all of these struggles. Latina power is also the hope for healing the community.

Name a Latina who has made a difference in your life?Who is she and how did she impact you?

Without a doubt, my mother, Soccorro Rosales.She is my backbone. She defended me so that I could be free regardless of being born a girl.
She took a risk in defending me from the machos in my family, her two sons. In a delicate and soft way, she gave me examples of bravery and dignity.
When I went to the university, without thinking twice, she followed me to a new city and left everything she had behind. My part time job barely helped me pay the bills.
One Christmas eve I came home very sad because I did not get paid and was not able to bring home the special meal I wanted. When I arrived she received me with open arms and said Merry Xmas.
I was so embarrassed to tell her that I had not brought home a special dinner. She took me in and showed me a cake made out of cardboard and said: “what’s important is that we have each other. Food and material things will follow.”
My mother showed me to never give up.

If you could wave a realistic magic wand, what would you wish for Prospera and the Latina entrepreneurs we work with?

We each have a piece of that magic wand and it’s about brining those pieces together so that we have that one magic wand. On the one hand we have the capacity and the strength of the entrepreneurs, on the other hand we have the support from individuals and foundations that support Prospera. The third piece is us, the team with love and commitment. Together these three pieces can create a lot of magic in our communities. I see not one or two or five businesses. I see many successful coops brining life and color to our communities. I see confident women showing the way to other women. I see their children proud of their mothers with their own wishes and confidence to follow their dreams. I see strong communities with solidarity economies. I see unity, solidarity, prosperity and many changes in our economies.

How do you see yourself contributing to this magic?

I am dedicated to be part of this magic contributing my passion for designing and delivering trainings and professional events that are educational, fun and culturally appropriate. I cannot separate my experience as an immigrant with my position as community education director.
What else would you like us to know about you? Just to say that I am very happy to be a mother of a lovely 3 year old, Emiliano.
My evolution as s human being continues thanks to this child that now shares my path.
I have the privilege of being a “single mother” in an alternative family, supported by an entire community.