I have distant memories of hearing Maria Hinojosa’s voice on Latino USA as a young girl. When I was selected as a Generation Justice Fellow, I never expected I would actually have the opportunity to meet Maria. Meeting and speaking with her has become one of the many highlights of my life. During my chat, I learned more about her: her successes, her failures and how she overcame all the obstacles that made her who she is today.
Getting to know more about Maria was inspiring. Her energy resonated so well with me and reassured me that I am on the right path here at GJ. Now that I embrace my title as a young woman of color, Maria has reminded me why it is important. She explained how she felt invisible growing up because there was no one in mainstream media like her, a woman of color. Hearing these stories reminded me of the many times I also felt the same.
I think back to my childhood watching news and Western television shows with my grandmother. Every person that looked like me was portrayed as either an antagonist or a criminal. As I grew older, I started to realize how broken the representation of communities of color really was. That is when I decided to become a dedicated storyteller who empowers others to share their important stories, just like Maria.
Maria’s journey to become a well-known and respected host and producer showed me how much determination, inspiration, strength, and love she brings into the world of media. I admire that she exemplifies all the qualities most resilient women of color strive for. I am happy I have gotten to meet Maria and can look up to a hard working professional like her.
What I will never forget about my meeting with Maria Hinojosa is when she thanked the three female, Native American GJ fellows for choosing to be storytellers. She reminded us of the misrepresentation of Indigenous people throughout history and why it is important for us to report on those usually forgotten communities.
I will never forget that Maria was just like me, “invisible,” and then found a loving community where she is now “heard” and “visible.” Just like Maria, I plan to fearlessly jump through as many hoops as I can and never give up telling important stories.