The LatinX Leads Student Leadership Conference in New Jersey was an experience that we wish we can relive and share with others. There were many key takeaways within this conference, but one that was constantly repeated was for everyone to “know who [they] are”. Cecilia Ramirez, a talented woman who had persevered and overcame numerous amounts of obstacles, spoke about how important an individual’s identity is. She had emphasized how everyone has a separate story, and if one does not embrace it, someone else will take it away. Each story represents separate growth and separate struggles, but with each struggle and moment of growth, it allows the individual to become a leader. The concept of Leadership allowed many young college students to embrace their abilities and their flaws to be able to bring necessary change to their college campuses. Knowledge is power, and Cecilia Ramirez highlighted that every student, regardless of their situation, is greater than just a 4.0 GPA.
This conference had different types of Workshops that were available to everyone to choose from. Each workshop highlighted separate issues that many of us LatinX students face in and out of our campus. The workshops allowed students to get out of their comfort zones and work with others, which had emphasized the fact that individuals grow through taking a step out of their comfort zones and simply challenging themselves to do bigger and better things. To be a leader, one must understand who they are and who they want to become. Mrs. Ramirez had stated that as leaders, we should all help better the lives of the people who need it. She had pushed the idea of authenticity and of being comfortable with one’s true self. Workshops that were provided ranged from understanding personal and gender identity, understanding biases that surround college campuses, and others that speak of how students can advocate for undocumented students along with many other subjects. These workshops were crucial in understanding the different types of individuals we are surrounded with and how we are all somehow connected. Each student represents a major factor within their college campus, but it is time to acknowledge change and to embrace it rather than holding it against others.
As students, we represent ourselves on a daily basis whether it is through our dialogue, our skin color, or through the language we speak. Being a part of the LatinX community allowed us to embrace our culture further and share our traditions with others. Mrs. Ramirez had said, “You are a magic maker”. Everyone has their own hint of magic, it just takes time and willingness to take that first step and make a transition to the next level. This conference had a major impact on our roles not only as being students, but being Latinas and being human beings in general. Each of us should acknowledge the place that we are in and continue to work forward. Lastly, the conference had ended with this quote: “Overcoming is just arriving at the life you should have been given at birth”. Overcoming different obstacles provides a pathway to the future that each individual desires. As long as there is determination and heart, the pathway will get better with time.