As our second annual #WeAllGrow Summit came to an end, the attendees gathered in the Hotel Maya's Lagunita Pavilion one last time to listen to the much anticipated Storytellers, presented by YouTube. This year the submissions for this event had surpassed our expectations. From over eighty submissions, six storytellers were selected as finalists to present their own unique story and voice to our diverse community.
Our storytellers touched everyone in the room from laughs to tears of emotion, We could not have been more proud.
Kathy Cano-Murillo of Crafty Chica
Our host and moderator, Kathy Cano-Murillo of Crafty Chica shared a story about the time her youngest daughter fell in love for the first time and how she quickly became a helicopter mom. Being the ultimate bohemian couple with her husband, she tried to stay optimistic while her husband knew her daughter’s new boyfriend was oncoming traffic.
While being caught in the middle between her husband and daughter for the first time, Kathy knew she wanted what was best for her daughter but still wanted to respect her and her relationship. She concluded by sharing how it’s a learning process when dealing with your children’s love life and reminded us all to always to stay connected with your child.
Gabby Natale of Super Latina
Gaby Natale of SuperLatina took the stage to share the story of when she was a recent graduate in search of her dream job. Life did not turn our as planned. In 2001, she found herself unemployed. She did not allow that situation to defeat her. She worked that much harder to land a position that would eventually skyrocket her into the super Latina she is today.
During her story, she shared these words from mom with attendees, "Always bring your A-game because you never know when opportunity will come knocking at your door!" Gaby also never takes an opportunity for granted because she knows what it's like to not have any and she encouraged us all to take that approach in life as well.
Showing that women are warriors, she concluded by saying, "Don't play it safe. It could be the riskiest move ever."
Denise Cortes of Pear Mama
Next to take the stage, Denise Cortes of Pear Mama shared the story of when her parenting as a mother came into a full circle. Her story recalls a tense night between her and her husband as they discussed the state of their marriage.
Later that night she was comforted by her first son Noah. “That’s where I felt my parenting came full circle, it was no longer mother and child. I let that pretense down and let my son see me at my weakest point”, Denise recalled. Her story taught us that when we let our guard down as parents, all the love and care that we instill into our children as parents is given back to us in times when we need it most.
Eliana Tardio took the #WeAllGrow stage and discussed the importance of taking care of children with special needs. She described the heartbreaking first time she heard and felt a prejudice towards her special needs son. After that, she vowed to be one of the voices to make sure something like that never happened again to another child.
She encouraged parents to be the ones to stand up for their children and be their biggest cheerleaders. But the greatest lesson she passed on to us? Her children taught her that people who love you will accept you as you are, which is something we all need to remind ourselves!
Nancy Salas of Simply Nancy
Next to take the stage was Youtuber Nancy Salas, who shared an emotional childhood story of the time her mother suffered from a terrible stroke and became paralyzed. Through this life changing event at the age of nine, she felt unprepared growing up, as she was sheltered from seeing her mother in this condition. Through this troubling time as a child, she felt she lost her childhood and her family.
Through time she learned how to heal herself inside and bring about this inner peace that was broken for so long. The lesson she ultimately learned from this tragedy was to prepare your children for the world and the unexpected, embrace your inner child, give love where it is needed and let the pain from the past drive you.
Yvonne Condes of Yvonne in LA
Storytellers continued with Yvonne Condes of Moms LA, who discussed how important it is for Latino children to feel good in their skin. She wanted her sons to understand their Mexican heritage but also to not feel like they didn't belong because of it - something that Yvonne has personally experienced.
She never wanted her sons to feel like they were too Latino or not Latino enough but rather that their Mexican identity is something to be embraced and celebrated. She concluded by saying, "Whatever my boys say about me someday, I hope they say it lovingly and I hope they say it in Spanish!"
Marines Duarte of En Tus Zapatos
Lastly, Marinés Duarte of En Tus Zapatos Blog shared the story of when she was a little girl with big dreams of moving to the U.S. to study and play tennis. She faced many obstacles before her dreams came true but she did not let those hurdles keep her from achieving what she wanted.
She practiced tennis day and night, every afternoon and weekend in hopes of gaining a sports scholarship. All her hard work paid off. By the age of sixteen, she was ranked top ten in the nation. And year later, she was in the U.S. ready to play tennis.
Her excitement for what she had anticipated for so long quickly diminished, as she found herself not fitting with her new team. While her coach made her time miserable, she kept focused and determined to make it to the national championships. Eventually she did just that for four years in a row. Marinés continues to still hold the school's record till this day .
She concluded our #WeAllGrow Summit 2016 with one key message that we could not agree more with, “Latinas are the perfect combination between a warrior and a princess.”
Through all of our diverse stories and backgrounds our voices as Latinas come together because when one grows, we all grow.