There is something powerful about a large group of Latino's who come together. Trust me I have experienced it first hand. We have filled the U.S. Capitol and stood firm against the rain, united. It's what LATISM did to us. Brought us all together, both Latina's and Latinos into one city to be heard as one voice. Not of anger or filled with fighting words but educated, informed and knowledgeable about what we believe in. I didn't know what to expect, I was scared to voice my opinion, then we convened the first night. After which I was asked by another conference attendee to join forces with her and bring more strength to our cause, women rights. Especially against violence, against deportation, against separating families.
I know that we didn't come together in DC to prove anything but instead to learn how we can further reach our communities and grow to help our causes. My cause was simple, women rights and more specifically, equality for moms. But, it reaches so many areas; equality for women in general, women rights as a whole, women empowerment, immigration, rights in the workplace, accessible and affordable dependent care and so much more. Which is why when I was selected to attend the conference, I immediately accepted. Not to prove that I could do it but to do more, to learn more, to become more noticed and to further voice what I truly believe.
LATISM provided the perfect platforms and increased the power I felt, as each moment continuously inspired me. Inspired to speak up, to become involved again, to be informed in my own city and never give up! The conference had so many areas of interest and covered a long list of important topics you can see them all here but today I am sharing my favorite top 10 take-away's from the conference.
1) Meeting New Bloggers- While I know many amazing bloggers who have inspried me along the years. Each conference helps me create a broader base of support and new found sources of inspiration and ideas. Meeting new bloggers, writers and thinkers creates new collaborations and brings out the best in everyone. Meeting new people helps me think of new and fresh ideas. Plus meeting new people is always good for personal growth.
2) Meeting up with other Texas bloggers- You would think that when you belong to specific groups it's easy to keep up with one another. But, Texas is huge and bloggers are spread out, throughout the state. Keeping in touch, meeting up or even catching up with some of us can be tricky. We all live different lifestyles and have conflicting schedules. Getting us together even at conferences can be difficult but in DC, I enjoyed the company of some Texas bloggers. And, finally got to meet more of them in person. Which is always special!
3) Visiting the local sites- While the conference kept us very busy, we were able to get away in small groups or large ones to enjoy the local sites. Oh yes, and the eateries. The food was great! Visiting the local sites to me is very important. You learn so much about the city, and it allows for more time to get to know the other conference attendees. While you don't want to miss out on the conference, who can resist getting out and exploring? DC was a first for me, so I did have a short site seeing bucket list. I was able to visit my top 3; the White House, the Capitol and the Lincoln memorial.
4) Shopping- I am usually not into shopping, but being that I was visiting DC for the first time and that my children are huge presidential fans. It was a must. It was nice to take a moment from the conference and really think about the small things that would make my children happy. They loved their gifts and I loved seeing their reactions. They now have a little memory from a special place where their Momma has been. It's the small things that count. I brought back t-shirts for my parents and trust me they were ecstatic. That again makes me happy and feel a small sense of accomplishment.
5) Connecting- Being a Momma can sometimes make me feel like I don't get out much and like maybe I lack in networking encounters. But, conferences like LATISM make me feel different. Connecting with others, especially brands and large companies is a good way to update and practice my personal brand pitch. It's also a great way to feel connected to something other than your small hometown circle. And, it's definitely a good way to get your company or blog recognized.
6) Giving back- One thing I have always been about is giving back. Within my local community and within my network as a whole. Feeling as if all that you have learned is being used for good. As well as giving back to fellow bloggers for all their support in form of mentoring and sharing my experiences. LATISM gives back, in so many ways but most importantly to the Latino Community. That's so important, as a group we should give back to one another to form and create bigger and better networking circles that we can all learn from.
7) Work in the community- I love the work that is being done in the community, with the youth especially. Sharing the diverse passion we have for all causes with the young Latino community is amazing. LATISM is definitely working within our communities for a better future. Who better to help lead the way than the youth who form part of the inner-city or under-represented rural communities. To have a group like LATISM step in and want to make a true difference in education is a great step forward.
8) STEM & Congress visits- There are so many areas of science and technology; that I still don't understand and should. There are areas of our government that I still don't understand, and most definitely should be involved in. LATISM has reignited my interest, as a parent in these subjects. Most importantly in STEM and how much our children should be involved in different areas of focus. Math and Science are vital to many areas of our lives. I want my children to learn as much as they can and reach their potential in any or all areas of focus. I feel that I should be more involved, especially for my daughter, I want to help make a way for her to study anything that she wants and succeed.
9) The Team- Putting together a large event is not easy. Bringing together all of the logistics, people and topics can be a hard task to accomplish. But, the LATISM team accepts the challenge and takes it on. At the end of the day, everyone gains. The experience is exciting and one to learn from. I commend all those involved, and appreciate all of the hard work.
10) Traveling Alone- I recommend it for all Momma's. Especially if you are like me. I didn't get to travel alone much as a young adult. I either traveled with my family or my Husband (while we were dating and newly married). So traveling alone, being in a new city alone, and sleeping without my kids and husband was very new to me. Not something I was used to. But, as I have gone on several trips now it's definitely a good break from the norm. It also helps me appreciate and miss my family, even more. The experience is very unique and helps remind me as a Momma that I am capable of so much more. It's a wonderful reminder really!