Through politics, discussions, networking, art, music, and workshops, the 17th annual La Mujer Latina Conference April 13 at the Pyle Center will once again be an important community resource. The theme this year is “Creating a Healthy Latina Environment: Physically, Mentally, Spiritually.”
“As we were organizing the conference we talked a lot about the importance of being healthy and balanced and that’s how we determined our theme,” says UW-Madison sophomore Marianna Rivera, the outreach coordinator for La Mujer Latina Conference 2013 and one of the organizers of the event. “We’re really excited. We have a lot of things going on this year.”
The purpose of this event is to unite Latinas from all over campus, the Madison community, and beyond to discuss issues that are important to the well-being of Latinas. The event will provide not only La Mujer Latina members with a chance to increase their leadership skills but also all attendees to network and meet other women to advocate for positive change for themselves and their fellow Latinas.
La Mujer Latina is a student organization at the UW-Madison that is dedicated to bringing together Latinas to identify pressing issues affecting the welfare of Latinas in the university and the greater community. In doing so, La Mujer Latina strives to build relationships and to advocate for positive change for Latinas.
As a freshman from Chicago on the UW-Madison campus last year, Rivera found La Mujer Latina as she searched for an organization where she could meet and interact with other Latinas. “I really felt like I was the only Latina on campus at times,” she remembers. “Being from Chicago, I was surrounded by people who look like me and talk like me all the time. I was really missing that at UW.”
The annual conference is La Mujer Latina’s signature event and will feature keynote speeches by JoCasta Zamarripa, state representative to the Assembly for the 8th District of the Wisconsin State Legislature and Mariana Pacheco, associate professor at UW-Madison.
There will be morning and afternoon sessions of workshops with lunch sandwiched in between. In total, there will be 16 different workshops featured at the event. [See sidebar below right.] Each workshop will focus on creating a healthy Latina environment physically, mentally, or spiritually. Workshops will broach subjects including Building Latin@ Support Systems, Student Emotional Well-being, High School Transition into College, Mujeres Saludables, Mujeres Fuertes, and more.
At dinner, Tess Arenas will present on her latest project, the Somos Latinas project. The Noche de Cultura (A Night of Culture) will wrap up the day and will feature Ballet Folklorico, Medico de los Hermanos Avila, Raizes De Brasil, and UW First Wave performances.
“It will be an educational day, but it will also be a great chance to network,” Rivera says. “There will be a lot of women there who have made a tremendous impact on the Latino community in Madison; a lot of women from important organizations. There will be a lot of good information at the event. It’s a big, cultural event. I really feel like I’m developing professionally by organizing this conference. We’ve been working very hard on this.”
It’s a day for university students, but it’s also opened to the entire community and Rivera notes that everything at the event is free and she encourages women to get registered.
“Last year, we had a great conference and it was exciting to see it all come together,” Rivera says. “This year, I can’t wait to see the final product. We’re ready to just ‘wow’ people. I think that many of us who are organizing it this year are new faces and we will bring something new and exciting to the event.”
The 17th annual La Mujer Latina Conference will take place April 13 at the Pyle Center, 702 Langdon St., starting at 9 a.m. For more information, visit http://win.wisc.edu/organization/lamujerlatina/calendar/details/242319.