Spotlight: Las Jefas

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Local News

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Local News

By: Ashmar Mandou

Behind every altruistic effort or illuminating project is an organization working around the clock for the betterment of their community. Each month we will place a spotlight on organizations across the Chicagoland area that are invested in creating opportunities and elevating their community. This month we focus our attention on Las Jefas. One of the Founders of Las Jefas Elba Aranda-Suh, who is Executive Director of National Latino Education Institute (NLEI), shares the mission of Las Jefas and how you can get involved.

Lawndale Bilingual Newspaper: In your own words, describe the mission of the Las Jefas? 
Elba Aranda-Suh: We aim to promote, advocate, and empower Latinas in all sectors to influence and achieve better policy, accomplish balance while fully harnessing the contributions of the fastest growing economic demographic in the country.

How does Las Jefas engage with the community? 
We have launched Las Jefas with hosting inaugural listening tours with the two Chicago Mayoral candidates with over 100 of the top leading Latinas in Chicago.  The turn-out was phenomenal which is an indicator of the need for this movement. We recently went live with our social media @lasjefasChicago on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Through these platforms we will be hosting more venues that will provide Latinas opportunities with Key decision-makers in public affairs. Las Jefas is a nonpartisan volunteer alliance of Influential Latina Leaders representing a myriad of sectors including Business, Non-Profits, Finance, Healthcare, RE Development, Media, Entrepreneurs, Construction, Technology, Social Services, Economic Development, Law & Politics and Government.

For someone interested in volunteering, what opportunities are available to them?
Please contact our social platforms @lasjefaschicago.   We will be posting participation opportunities.  Las Jefas, embrace the importance of the electoral process as it directly affects education, jobs, health, business, poverty, hunger, violence, and economic prosperity for all, especially Latinas and their families.  We are invigorated by the outpouring from Latinas thankful for this new movement, Las Jefas.

What would you like the community to know about the Las Jefas? 
According to the Pew Research Center, Hispanic women are 45.8 percent of the Hispanic population out of the 17.6 percent of total Hispanics in the United States.  In Chicago, there was a two percent increase in Hispanic residents (800,000 +) with births as the driving force behind the growth, yet Latinas are not at the forefront. There has been a gap in the voice for Latinas in policy and decision-making.  To close this gap, in Chicago, a group of leading Latina Influencers mobilized to challenge the status quo to ensure access, equity and economic growth.  Las Jefas is a unique one of a kind Latina-led coalition bringing Latinas out of the shadows and at the decision table.  We want Latinas to be “in the room where it happens.”

Las Jefas Co-Founders are: Arabel Alva Rosales, Elba Aranda-Suh, Magdalena Fudalewicz, Alejandra Moran, Roxanne Nava, Carina Sanchez, Neli Vazquez Rowland

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