This post is part of a special Women’s History Month series highlighting 31 community advocates (one for each day in March). The words on the feature image above were chosen by the interviewee when asked to select three words that best describe her role in the community.
For more information on how you can get involved, follow the links provided at the end of each interview.
Full name and age: Ann Marie Cataño, 25
Your cause(s)/organization(s)/profession(s)/passion project(s):
My causes are anything I believe in, including education. I was the elected spokesperson for Student Empowerment and I’m a speaker for Communities Against Displacement. I’m also currently working on starting my own organization, La Voz del Barrio, to help others in the community find their voice and fulfill their passions.
As a Chicana Studies major, I am dedicated to leading others to success. It’s kind of my calling to speak up (or speak out, as some would say) and see others thrive.
Why do you choose to focus on the Valley and do the work that you do?
I focus on the Valley because it’s my home and I love it. There’s no other place like it and without my struggles and success in these neighborhoods, I wouldn’t be who I am today.
I do what I do because I naturally fall into it, and I believe in being a voice for myself, for the people and, most importantly, for my daughters, Angelina, Yaretzi and Zyanya, who I hope one day look back at my work and learn something positive from it. One day they can be proud and say, “Ann Marie? Yeah, she’s my mom.”
Why is it important for women to share their passion with the community?
It is one of the many ways we can give back and show that we are much more than the average mind thinks of us. Showing our passion, which can be anything from speaking and painting to writing and much more, gives people a sincere visual of what being a Chicana is all about. We live in a society where Chicanas do not fit here or there, but through our passions we show that we can thrive far beyond what words can ever describe.
If you had one wish for the San Fernando Valley, what would it be?
My wish would be for people to be truly educated about their cultura and history and not be ashamed of who they—for people to become enlightened and find their calling.
Where can we find you online?
Feature photo courtesy of www.notesfromaztlan.com.