Since Banner Brunch 2018 is around the corner, we met with Laura Donnelly of Latinitas to discuss what Latinitas is doing and how it’s helping to grow and create community and change makers. Donnelly digs into what makes Latinitas so special and how they are determined to combine media with motivation. Donnelly is one of two keynotes at Banner Brunch 2018 and she believes that believing in yourself, time and time again, is key.

Donnelly ———

The value of communications and media is not just about information. It’s the most powerful platform for social change. Nationally, there is a push against the media. Media is having impact – the impact is change. Nothing really has momentum if it doesn’t have the support of media. If media isn’t reflecting back the same message.

What’s interesting about Latinitas is we’ve created a space for girls to become news makers. The girls are interested in celebrity and how to get to college, but [Latinitas] is also a device for them to express their point of view and show the authentic experiences they are having. This is why the lens of culture is so important.

When young women see something is made just for them, and designed with them in mind, that is the gateway to everything else. They feel more empowered and comfortable to go to those spaces that might seem more accessible or stable for many others. In other words, not every Austinite goes to ACL, SXSW or has yet to go to UT’s campus or other like the Thinkery or the new Central Library. In fact the largest percentage of the city’s youth population may not do any of these things through their childhood.

When we’re recognized in the news, it’s usually by other Latina or Latino writers. With that said, we get the support we need from cultural papers. Our community lives there. The media community is super important to us. We need to provide career professional examples.

For some kids, they’re part of Austin’s mainstream. However, for most of the girls, they’re first generation and they might be somewhat isolated. It’s no mystery that Austin has multiple girl empowerment groups. The value of the greater community of Austin is super important to Latinitas. We’re interested in people who are willing to step out of that comfort zone and volunteer with this group. I cannot repeat this more. You do not need to know Spanish to volunteer at Latinitas – you do not need to know how to pronounce it well even!

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Never forget that you control the world. Trust your gut. Listen to your instincts. Believe in yourself and your abilities. You can do it. Hear more from Donnelly at Banner Brunch 2018 on April 28th.