#GirlBoss Lessons from NYC Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito #LaJefa


According to the Urban Dictionary, a Girl Boss is “THE woman who is in control. She demands respect and gets it. She runs the show.”

Why in the world there isn’t a photo of Melissa Mark-Viverito next to this description, is beyond me. The current New York City Council Speaker oozes girl-boss-ness (yep, I made that up), right down to her unconventionally cool childhood story: She credits her father, a doctor who provided services to people who couldn’t afford medical care; and her mom, a feminist, as the source of her lifelong social consciousness.

This thirst for social justice, she says, informs all her decisions when it comes to enacting policy and speaking up on issues, such as immigration. Under her leadership, for example, the city has implemented legislation that limited cooperation with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency in order to protect undocumented New Yorkers who have committed nonviolent, low level offenses from deportation. It has also secured legal representation aid for unaccompanied minors brought to the city, among many other initiatives. All because, in her words, “we believe people should have legal representation and get a fair shot.”

These initiatives are prompting other states to seek her advice as they seek solutions for similar circumstances. Her growing influence has not gone unnoticed, and is already prompting speculation about her future in politics. And while she says she’s staying put for now, she also concedes that “all options are on the table.”

From equality to the shifting Latino leadership she’s helping pioneer in New York City, to the plight of women of color in politics, Speaker Mark-Viverito shared one glorious half hour with me on her first-ever Google+ hangout, veritably handing out fierceness lessons at every turn. And she did it in the only way she knows how: “Sin pelos en la lengua” (Literal translation: With no hair in her tongue. Real translation: Like a total BOSS.)

For the full effect, you MUST watch the full video above. But, for now grab a pen and take notes. Here’s how a real Girl Boss gets the job done:

On the need for more women in politics*:
“There’s still a lot of work that need to do to create an inclusive environment in which young women would want to run, in which we are cultivating and nurturing young Latinas and women of color to consider running. We need to have government, in all aspects, to be truly reflective of the diversity that we live in this city.” [Tweet This!]

On Immigration Reform:
“I think that we have done such a disservice to this nation by not implementing comprehensive immigration reform. We’ve shortchanged the lives of many and we’re also limiting the economic potential of including […] specifically undocumented immigrants into the pool.” [Tweet This!]

On Inclusiveness:
“We should be aspiring to live in a society and in a city that is inclusive, that makes everyone feel welcome, regardless of your immigration status, regardless of your economic reality, regardless of the neighborhood you live in, etc.” [Tweet This!]

On Latino Leadership:
“We need to elect more Latinos to office, but it has to be the Latinos with the right kind of framework. It’s not just about being in the position to be in the position. It’s also about the values that that individual is bringing.”          [Tweet This!]

On Standing Up for What You Believe:
“When you’re speaking for what’s right you should never be afraid to lift your voice. […] We need to be engaged and concerned about the what is happening in our communities. We can’t leave it or expect for others to do the work for us.” [Tweet This!]

Here’s how the conversation played out, simultaneously, on Twitter (Under hashtags #LaJefa and #GirlBoss):

* NOTE: There are 51 members in the City Council, only 15 of which are women. New York City’s population of 8.4 million people is 52.3% female and 47.7% male.

#ImmigrationAction G+ Hangout: Bilingual Recap and Resources • #Acción Migratoria: Resumen y Recursos Bilingües


Immigration Action Panel

Last Thursday night marked one of those moments that, years later, you remember exactly where you were when it happened. Though largely ignored by mainstream media, Latinos and other affected communities around the country were pretty much GLUED to their screens of choice to witness the historic moment when President Obama announced his decision to use his executive powers to relieve up to five million families from the threat of being separated.  Though the measure does not cover up to 7 million immigrants, it was nonetheless welcomed as the silver lining in a situation that has been long, drawn out, and tormentous at best due to Congress’ failure to pass legislation on the issue. A limited, temporary fix, the President’s policy directive  builds upon the success of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals to extend temporary deportation relief and work authorization, among other benefits, to an additional number of DREAMers as well as to qualifying parents of citizen and resident children. The response from the community has been overwhelming, if not joyous. In an instant, up to five million families and their children, were given the chance to build a full, productive, decent, HUMAN life out of the shadows for themselves and their future generations. Let that sink in for a second.

At the same time, many questions remain as people scramble to understand how the details affect their personal situation, how to get ready for when the application process finally begins in the Spring of next year, and exactly what’s going to happen to the ones left behind. To answer some of the questions in everyone’s minds, I invited a group of activists and community leaders to discuss them:

They applauded the President’s move but stressed that their fight is far from over: They will not rest until Congress and the soon-to-be new Senate work to pass a permanent solution to the immigration crisis, until the 6-plus million immigrants left behind by this action can also get a chance to live a dignified life in the country they have come to love.


Below are some of the main points and resources they shared, with additional sources added for clarification. If you know of any other resources, please share in the comments!






¿Califican tus padres para el DAPA?

¿Califican tus padres para el DAPA?


  ¿Califican tus padres para el programa de Acción Diferida para Responsabilidad de los Padres (DAPA)? Para calificar, deben cumplir los siguientes requisitos:

1. Ser padres de uno o más niños que sea(n) ciudadano o residente americano y que haya(n) nacido(s) el día o antes del día 20 de noviembre de 2014

2. Los padres deberán estar en los Estados Unidos desde el 1ro de enero del 2010 o antes (al menos los últimos 5 años)

3. Estar presentes en los Estados Unidos en el momento del anuncio, el 20 de noviembre de 2014

4. No tener ningún estado migratorio en la fecha del 20 de noviembre de 2014

5. Poder pasar chequeo de seguridad y chequeo de antecedentes criminales, mostrando no tener ningún record. No pertenecer ni calificar para la categoría de deportación prioritaria*.

  Cecilia Muñoz, directora del Consejo de Política Nacional de la Casa Blanca, acaba de publicar más detalles en el blog de la Casa Blanca. Léelo en español or in English.

* Consulte con un abogado para delineaciones más detalladas sobre esta categoría



¿Cuáles DREAMers califican para la expansión de DACA?

¿Qué cambios conlleva la expansión de DACA?


   ¿Qué cambios conlleva la expansión de DACA?

1. Ya no hay límite de edad: El requisito de ser menor de 30 años para calificar ya no aplica, siempre y cuando llenes el resto de los requisitos.

2. Para calificar ahora, deberás haber vivido en los Estados Unidos por lo menos desde el 1ro de enero de 2010.

3. El permiso por DACA ahora dura unos 3 años: A partir de ahora, las personas que soliciten o renueven sus permisos de DACA lo obtendrán por una duración de tres años en vez de sólo dos.



Cómo prepararse para solicitar

Cómo prepararse para solicitar. Courtesy of United We Dream

     1. Register to receive notifications from UWD

     2. Confirm/Provide proof that you are physically in the country at the time of the announcement

     3. Be on the alert in order to avoid scams from notary publics and others who may want to take advantage of unwary people. Visit the USCIS pages on

     Avoiding Scams (in English)  y Cómo evitar estafas (en español)

     4. Get your documents together: Passports from your country of origin, any documents that confirm when you first arrived in the U.S., how long you’ve lived here, including dates along the way, etc.

     5. Start saving money: The cost of the application will be approximately $500 per person applying.



  • DCDream | DCSueño: Assistance with DACA Renewal application, DACA clinics, help for undocumented youth to access college and more
  • United We Dream: Up-to-date information, resources, DACA clinics, help with legal fees, and the DREAM Educational Empowerment Program (DEEP) and more
  • DREAMers’ Moms: Immigration Clínics to educate about immigrant rights, application process and DACA benefits
  • EstamosListos.org: A partnership between DC Dream, ALM Immigration and DREAMers’ Moms with the latest updates, DACA/DAPA clinics in Florida, New York, New Jersey, Washington DC, California, Texas and Utah
  • We Belong Together: Petitions, resources and information from a women’s priorities perspective
  • Mia – Movement of Immigrants in America: Up-to-date information, resources, comprehensive guides
  • National Bar Association: Pro bono legal services and legal orientations for immigrants

Do you know of any other resources that can be helpful for those going through this process? Please share them below!

Elianne Ramos (@ERGeekGoddess) To Receive Social Media Innovator Award From MD Governor’s Commission On Hispanic Affairs


Maryland State Seal

For Immediate Release
Contact: Speak Hispanic

Award to be presented at a special Hispanic Heritage Month Reception at MD Governor Martin O’ Malley’s Annapolis Home

BALTIMORE, MD — October 15, 2014 – Speak Hispanic, a woman’s owned and operated social enterprise, today is proud to announce that its Principal, Elianne Ramos, has just been named a recipient of the Social Media Innovator Award, granted by the Maryland Governor’s Commission on Hispanic Affairs. The award will be presented to Ms. Ramos on October 15, 2014, during the annual Hispanic Heritage Month reception at the Governor’s home in Annapolis.

In her letter to Ms. Ramos, Commission Chair Yolanda María Martínez said, “Our community’s achievements have been made possible because of this administration’s commitment to diversity and the belief in the dignity and respect of every individual. However, we also acknowledge that we could not have done this without the individuals like you who are committed to working on behalf of the Hispanic community to make this State a great place.”

“Social tools have allowed the democratization of information and participation in civic life for so many segments of the population, and being able to use them to help empower our Latino community is a reward in itself,” said Elianne Ramos. “It is an extraordinary honor to be recognized for work that is so deeply fulfilling to me in so many levels, especially when said recognition comes from a distinguished group of people whom I admire and respect so much. I humbly and gratefully accept this award as a sign that I am on the right path.”

The Maryland Governor’s Commission of Hispanic Affairs advises the Governor and government agencies on how to best serve Hispanic and Latinos in the State of Maryland. Under the administration of Governor Martin O’Malley and Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown, the Commission has advanced policies that affect the Latino community such as the Maryland Dream Act, licenses for undocumented immigrants, limiting the State’s cooperation in the federal Secure Communities program, supporting children seeking refuge from violence in Central American countries and many more. To learn more about the Commission, please visit http://www.hispanic.maryland.gov/

Elianne is the Principal and CEO of Speak Hispanic Communications. Known online as @ERGeekGoddess, she is a nationally recognized social entrepreneur and Latino community advocate, building large-scale engagement through social media and encouraging inspiration through her writing. She is considered one of the most influential Latinas in social media.

Speak Hispanic Communications is a 100% virtual, woman-owned and run, socially-conscious company on a mission to help non-profits bridge the gap between awareness and action, in the Latino market and beyond. We believe in the power and potential of online tools to create, support, and sustain individual and group social and civic engagement. We operate at the crux of commitment, community and social activism, helping to build awareness about the organizations, causes and initiatives that share our passion, vision and values.

Latinos and the media: A discussion with @Felix_Sanchez @MicheleSalcedo @Followthelede


For Latinos, the relationship with the media has always been kind of murky, lopsided… a sort of unrequited love. For all of our community’s eager loyalty and record consumption rates, all we ever get in return is little to no visibility, token-sized participation… and a greasy, generous side of “Rico Suave” stereotyping. Whether we pay attention or not, and as skin-deep as those characterizations may seem, the fact is that systematic assault on our community’s identity can leave profound psychological scars on our collective psyche.

With so much on the line, a proper conversation on this topic must cover the myriad of interwoven pieces, factors, circumstances and community needs at play: From representation, participation, the interpretation of said representation by others, the long term effects of it all on ourselves and the society at large, etc. My guests last week brought all these to light with such passion and conviction, our hangout ran overtime by half an hour!

Felix Sanchez of the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts, Michele Salcedo from the Associated Press and Sabrina Vourvoulias from Al Día News tackled the subject with the mastery that only seasoned veterans can. I urge you watch the whole conversation and contribute to the discussion in the comments below! In the meantime, here’s a sample taste of what we discussed:

Michele Salcedo on the role of corporatization on stereotyping:

Michele Screen Capture copy
“We are almost invisible, especially in mainstream media, except when it comes to certain issues and those issues are very much siloed.” [Tweet This!]

“With the corporatization of media there is tremendous amount of pressure to make sure the profits are high enough and this cuts across. It doesn’t matter whether it’s widgets whether it’s news or whether it’s programming. So I think it tends to become a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy, and until there is more knowledge of the Latino community either by producers or by editors and viceversa — so that we understand how the mainstream works and the mainstream understands who we are — we are going to continue to get these stereotypes.”

Felix Sanchez on the need for media literacy:

Felix Screen Capture

“To me, it’s about media literacy. It’s about teaching people in context, what an image means, what a message is saying, what the impact could be long term, and getting our community to sort of dive deep into what media is doing to us, what is saying to us, what it’s perpetuating. Many in our community do not analyze any kind of a narrative of programming, casting, color lines, all of these different things and there has to be greater understanding because then we can have a force that will stand with us when we have issues.” [Tweet This!]

“The bottom line here is that we have a tremendous buying power, we know that. We over-index at the box office, we watch too much TV for our own good. But we can gather all of that power to support us in the newsrooms, to support us in terms of the narratives that we’re telling, to support us in the casting, to support our projects.”

Sabrina Vourvoulias on the need for us to reclaim our narrative:

Sabrina Screen Capture copy

“I think we do a disservice to our community, in micro and in macro, in thinking of ourselves as unsophisticated. The fare that we’re given is beneath us.” [Tweet This!]

“We can do two things, we can call it out, as Felix has, when we see really egregious instances where we doing ourselves damage. We can call it out when we see that we’re being erased or invisible. But mostly what we need to do is we need to tell our stories and we need to be storytellers and enable others to tell their stories and encourage those storytellers to not get discouraged at the lack of reception for our stories and we need to get people at the highest reaches whether it’s the entertainment media or news media who understand our stories, who are willing to listen to our stories, who see that just because the stories are told in a different way or from a different perspective doesn’t invalidate them. And I think ultimately, whether it’s the entertainment media, whether it’s the news media, we are all, as Felix has often said, we are reflecting a narrative. We are creating a narrative. And what I think, and this is one of Al Dia’s slogans, we need to be driving that narrative.”

I couldn’t possibly have defined the state of our relationship with the media any better myself. This conversation is by no means over, so watch this space for more hangouts on this topic soon! Let’s keep this conversation going — and the media in check! Please watch the whole discussion on YouTube or below, add your own thoughts in the comments, and please follow and support my guests’ work:

See you at my next Google Plus hangout. Until then, Be Blessed!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9MRv0YOxZag&w=560&h=315]

YOUR TURN: What do you think?

Recap: #Tech4CIR Hangout with Rep. Garcia and Tech Industry Advocate Organizations

Congressman García - Tech4CIR

“Hispanics have become a scapegoat to our problems when, in fact, they are a driver to the economy.” ~Congressman Joe Garcia

With an all-time high approval rate on the issue, the latest in technologically-sophisticated apps and programs working to help push the issue, and passionate advocates giving their all across the country, it’s easy to get frustrated about the lack of movement on the enactment of immigration reform legislation. After all, this isn’t just a partisan, or a Latino, or any specific group’s problem. This is, in the words of Alida García, Director of Coalitions and Policy at FWD.us, “an urgent economic issue that will fix our deficit by 900 billion dollars.”

Alida was one of my guests on last night’s Google+ Hangout along with Hanna Siegel, Chief of Staff at the Partnership for a New American Economy, Jimmy Hernández, Immigration Campaign Manager for Voto Latino, Felice Gorordo, Chief Executive Officer of Clearpath Immigration and Congressman Joe Garcia of Florida’s 26th District. Each one of them shared the latest in tech world’s efforts and trends used in the fight for immigration reform as well as their views in terms of how else tech can support the movement’s efforts.

To them, frustration is an unavoidable part of being in the fight, as Jimmy Hernandez pointed out, “Regardless of the frustrations, we realize that we need to keep moving forward, we need to keep applying pressure because we need this bill passed.” This in no way means they are taking a more relaxed approach. On the contrary, Rep. Joe García pointed out the urgency of matter for him and his colleagues: “We have to solve this now, in this congress, because whatever the President does can go away after a bad election.”

The message couldn’t be any clearer: 1) We must continue pushing and holding legislators accountable, 2) We must combine efforts and creativity to bring more awareness and stakeholders to the issue; and 3) WE MUST GET OUT THE VOTE!

I’ll leave you to develop your own personal takeaway when you watch the video, but here’s mine: We have a very narrow window to get any sort of legislation on immigration, so we better step it up.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YzsnRTMro0k&w=640&h=360]

Below is a list of resources you can get involved in to engage with these organizations and Rep. García. Let’s continue the push, together we can do this!

Twitter: @FWD_us
Facebook: FWDus
Website: FWD.us
Send in your #Selfies4Reform
Submit Your Story to Built By Immigrants
Contact Your Reps to Push4Reform
#ICodeImmigration campaign with Partnership for a New American Economy


Twitter: @VotoLatino

Facebook: Voto Latino

Website: votolatino.org

– Participate in the “VL CHALLENGE

– Get ready to Get Out The Vote


Facebook: Renew Our Economy

Website: renewoureconomy.org

Local and National Campaigns

#ICodeImmigration campaign with FWD_us



Twitter: @clearpathforms

Facebook: Clearpath Immigration

Website: clearpathimmigration.com

Tools for Immigrants Seeking Documented Status


Twitter: @RepJoeGarcia

Facebook: Rep. Joe Garcia

Website: Garcia.house.gov

Contact: EMail

Comments? Leave them below!

Faces of the Women’s Fast4Families: Fasters Share Their Reasons To Join The 48-Hour Fast


By Elianne Ramos AKA ERGeekGoddess

They came from 36 states from across the United States, from various nationalities, ethnicities, backgrounds. For 48 hours, they chose to sacrifice their daily lives: their jobs, personal needs and loved ones to spend their days in a tent, straining their bodies from vital nourishment, proper rest and indulgences. They prayed, had long discussions on community and policy issues and visited elected officials. Their personal stories were as varied as their reasons for joining the fast — some were there for a family member, some as part of sister volunteer efforts, some because they, themselves, had deportation orders to contend with and no real resources save for their faith. Yet, they all had one thing in common: A die-hard hunger for justice, for dignity, for the respect of all immigrants.

From April 7th to the 9th, 2014, I joined a group of 105 unbelievably courageous modern-day heroines on a 48 hour fast at the National Mall in Washington, DC. Our goal? To feed the courage of elected leaders to pass immigration and stop the human rights crisis caused by deportations tearing millions of families apart. This fast was the culmination of a nationwide initiative led by the organization We Belong Together, on which thousands of “solidarity fasters” across the country gave up eating for several days at a time for the past couple of months.

These hard-working, civic-minded women are living testaments of the immigrant spirit: The engine that, for centuries, has helped to build the very fabric of this country by fueling economic productivity and social progress with their very own blood, sweat, and tears. In response, America has until now decided to turn its back on millions of them, denying them and their families the dignity of proper legal status.

The fact that this issue continues to be largely ignored by elected officials goes against everything for which this country stands. It is, by and large, a very hypocritical stance for the supposed world-leading society, the one that prides itself on being the world’s arbiter of human rights. America, “land of the free”: You should be ashamed! It is time to own up to the mess that is the immigration system and find a just and humane solution that frees 11 million of your inhabitants to build a decent life next to the ones they love!

This fast may now be over, but nuestra lucha continúa (our fight continues!) We, immigrant women and lovers of justice everywhere, WILL NOT STOP until this truly becomes a country in which everyone — regardless of their race, gender, religious preferences, socioeconomic or immigration status — is given the respect human beings deserve.

Support our Fight! ¡Únete a nuestra lucha! Be on the lookout for We Belong Together’s Next Steps here, and join their efforts. In the meantime, read the Fasters’ reasons to join this movement below, and please share your own reasons to fight for immigration in the comments!

Why I’m Joining the Women’s #Fast4Families and Immigration Reform


We Belong photo

Editor’s Note: The Women’s Fast4Families took place on the National Mall from April 7th to April 9th, 2014. This blog post was first published on BlogHer.com by Elianne Ramos AKA @ergeekgoddess.

As far as immigration stories go, my personal one could be considered commonplace, perhaps even a bit boring: Almost forty years ago, my parents decided that the life they had built back in my native Dominican Republic did not match the ideals they had for their three young daughters. Leaving all behind, they packed up a few possessions, their hopes and aspirations for our future in a couple of suitcases. Lucky for them, they were given the legal right to make an honorable living in America. Yet, millions of families today are not as lucky. For them , the piece of paper providing ‘validation’ of their God-given ‘human being’ status in this country, has not yet arrived.

Read the full article here.

Elianne Ramos (@ergeekgoddess) Nominated To 2013 Top 100 Minority Business Enterprise Awards




Elianne Ramos Nominated to 2013 Top 100 Minority Business Enterprise Awards

The Mid-Atlantic’s Only Regional Awards Honors Outstanding Women and Minority Women Owners in Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and the District of Columbia

Baltimore, MD – September 16, 2013 – Speak Hispanic Communications, a woman-owned and run, socially conscious communications company, is proud to announce that its Principal, Elianne Ramos, has just been nominated to the 2013 Top 100 Minority Business Enterprise Awards. The awards, the only one of its kind in the mid-Atlantic region, honors minority or  women business owners based on four key areas: business development, client satisfaction, professional affiliations and community involvement.

The awards ceremony will take place on Wednesday, October 30, 2013 in Baltimore, MD.

About Top 100 MBE Awards

The Top 100 MBE awards were created to recognize those enterprising women and minority entrepreneurs that fuel this nation’s economy through their innovation, sacrifices, and dedication. These business owners are living their dreams and making significant contributions to their clients, professions, industries and communities. Nominations for this award are solicited through the region’s many chambers of commerce, professional organizations, the business community and the general public.

About Elianne Ramos
Elianne Ramos is Principal and CEO of Speak Hispanic, a Marketing and PR consultancy focused on non-profits. She’s also Vice-Chair of Marketing and PR for LATISM. A Hispanic Communications Specialist with 17 years of experience in Creative Direction, Copywriting, Public Speaking, Public Relations and TV Commercial Production, Elianne has developed broadcast, multimedia and social media campaigns for clients such as Procter & Gamble, Panasonic, SlimFast, Chivas Regal, and HSBC Bank, among other top brands. Awards and recognition for her contributions to the Latino Community include the 2013 SmartCEO BRAVA Award, 2012 Game Changer Award from Politic365, and the 2012 Best Microblogger Award from LATISM. She’s also a columnist at several publications including the Huffington Post, and is considered one of the most influential Latinas in social media. Visit her website and follow her on Twitter @ergeekgoddess.

Faces of Diversity: A Slideshow. WARNING: Cute Overload!


Earlier this month I had the great fortune to travel to Medellín, Colombia for Faces of Diversity project team, as part of a team that included my daughter Charlene as the project’s Public Relations Aide, as well as good friends Edwin Gil and Brian Cockman.

If you’ve been following me, you have probably seen me gushing about the project either on my Facebook profile or on my Huffington Post column, but guess what? I’ve saved the best for last! So above is a slideshow with pictures with the true protagonists of the project: The children from the Buen Comienzo Program. One look and you will understand how these precious kids stole our hearts. But careful, you may just OD from the sheer cuteness!

P.S. Poverty is a vey serious problem that affects over 81 million children and their families in Latin America. For those of you who are curious about how to help, a good place to start is the philanthropic arm of the Buen Comienzo program in Medellín, The Ximena Rico Llano Foundation. And please continue to follow Faces of Diversity, as the brainchild of Brian Cockman and Artist Edwin Gil, is now going global!

Elianne Ramos (@ergeekgoddess) Joins “Faces of Diversity”— An International Public-Private Partnership To Benefit Children and Families in Medellín, Colombia


FOD Composite

JULY 22, 2013

Elianne Ramos • 646-932-7752 • eramos@elianneramos.com                                                                   
Brian Cockman • 877-210-3737, ext. 1 • brian@roostercomm.biz

Elianne Ramos (@ergeekgoddess) Joins “Faces of Diversity”— An International Public-Private Partnership To Benefit Children and Families in Medellín, Colombia

Baltimore, M.D. (July 22, 2013) — Speak Hispanic Communications, a woman-owned and run, socially conscious communications company, is proud to announce that its Principal, Elianne Ramos, has joined the Faces of Diversity international philanthropic initiative, to take place in Medellín, Colombia, August 2 -12, 2013. As the initiative’s Social and Cross-Cultural Communications Advisor, Ramos will work with an international communications team to help raise awareness by providing strategic marketing and communications advice, as well as traditional and social media coverage.

“Having worked with Elianne on several philanthropic ventures across the United States, I’ve seen firsthand the care, detail and commitment she provides to any project she touches,” says Brian Cockman, president of Rooster Communications and Faces of Diversity team leader. “Her cultural competence, as well as her expertise in communications and social media, will prove to be invaluable on this trip as we affect positive change within the communities of Medellín. We are very lucky to have such a renowned leader of the Latino community join us.”

The brainchild of Rooster Communications president, Brian Cockman, this public-private partnership will bring together visionary artist Edwin Gil’s Faces of Diversity program with Charlotte businesses AirTight and Toolwell; Colombian-based companies Clamasan and Agro MAIS; the foreign relations program created by the Mayor’s Office of Medellín, SosPaisa, and the Colombian family assistance program Buen Comienzo (Healthy Start).

The goal of this international goodwill initiative is two-fold: 1) To spotlight, through Faces of Diversity, the role of art as the ultimate cross-cultural connector, and 2) To highlight the important role that the Buen Comienzo program plays in some of poorest neighborhoods of Medellín. Volunteers from each company will collect thumbprints from children and families, which Gil will turn into a signature art piece to be unveiled at a special ceremony hosted by the City of Medellín on August 8.

About Faces of Diversity: Faces of Diversity helps promote diversity and multicultural awareness through the arts by encouraging thoughtful conversation. It reaffirms a sense of unity between cultures by demonstrating how social well-being is a human condition and something not specific to certain cultures. Contemporary, conceptual artist Edwin Gil creates a large piece of artwork using recycled glass and his propriety paint techniques featuring the face of one child. The face of this one child, however, is created using thumbprints from the thousands of participants at each particular event.

About Buen Comienzo: Buen Comienzo is a program from the Mayor of Medellin that serves children and their families during their first five years of life. They promote early childhood education and integral development that is diverse, inclusive and self-contained. They focus on families vulnerable to socio-economic factors through a joint interagency partnership with four departments (Social Inclusion and Family, Education, Health and Inder), as well as the n Colombian Family Welfare Institute (ICBF), the Ministry of Education and private enterprise.

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