Coming from a community, not a part of the Latina culture, left a space where Valencia High School junior Nadia Hussain was unable to understand the hardships that the community has faced. Being a volunteer at the 2022 LATINAFest on Oct. 22 gave her that opportunity. She left with a new sense of deep appreciation for a community that she hopes to one day emulate.
Hussain is currently enrolled in an honors entrepreneurship class at her high school. Her enrollment started out as a way to earn credits, but over time developed into a true interest for her.
Felicia Marquez, her teacher, was brought on to be a speech writer for LATINAFest.
LATINAFest is an event that celebrates the empowerment of bilingual, bicultural and multi-generational women in the business world.
When Marquez asked if anyone would be interested in volunteering, Hussain was the only one in her class to show up.
Instead of handing out water bottles and selling tickets, Hussain was given the opportunity to work as a stage manager with Emmy award-winning journalist Naibe Reynoso and CEO of Latin Heat, Bel Hernandez.
“Creating joy for everyone’s face to talk about women and supporting each other. I think that was just amazing,” said Hussain.
Latina woman after Latina woman spoke, sharing their stories of hardships that they’ve had to face. Hussain watched and absorbed every word that was spoken.
“I think they are so underrated from where they have come from,” said Hussain. “Many of them have come from places in Mexico where they didn’t have any opportunities over there. Their parents moved to another state to make sure they had a childhood and a good life. They just struggled so much. They had to continue going even if they didn’t have anything.”
Hussain hopes to one day become an entrepreneur herself. Having the experience of witnessing the words of these Latina women, in addition to her mother and aunt working in business, she knows how hard these women have had to work. Even so, sometimes the hard work and hardships are lost.
“I learned that women are so underrated in business,” said Hussain.
LATINAFest gives women an outlet to be showcased, something that Hussain now says is crucial, and understands why.
“Celebrating that (these women’s hard work) and making sure that they know that, we see them,” said Hussain of her newfound realization.
Only a sophomore, Hussain is ready to take on the business world and take what she has learned, and put it into action.
“It just gives me so much hope for what I can do and the future,” said Hussain.