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Odilia Romero Is on a Mission to Educate the World on the Existence of Indigenous Folks

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Indigenous woman Odilia Romero is on a mission to educate the world about the existence of Indigenous Peoples and amplify their voices. Her leadership is pouring into the next generation of Indigenous leaders and advocating for their fundamental rights.

Indigenous Zoogochense woman Odilia Romero from a Zapotec pueblo knows the power of language to shape Indigenous peoples’ lives. She has dedicated two decades to organizing Indigenous migrant communities and serving as an independent interpreter of Zapotec, Spanish, and English for Indigenous communities in Los Angeles and throughout California to put decision-making power back into their hands. Today, she is the co-founder and executive director of Comunidades Indígenas en Liderazgo (CIELO), an intergenerational organization that creates solutions to the social, economic, and cultural challenges her community faces. 

On a mission to educate the world about the existence of Indigenous Peoples and amplify their voices, Romero has published work on the challenges of organizing in Indigenous communities, developing women’s leadership, and preparing a new generation of youth. Her organizing knowledge and experience are highly regarded and have had a massive impact on the Indigenous communities in the region to advocate for their rights and pour into the next generation of Indigenous leaders. Her leadership and work have reached media coverage in the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, Vogue, Democracy Now, and more. 

This tenacious woman has been unwavering in her dedication to upholding human rights, dignity, and respect for her community.


Astrology sign:

Gemini

How do you define being a Latina of Impact?:

I define myself as a Zoogochense woman from a Zapotec pueblo.

Our impact is educating the world about the existence of Indigenous Peoples. We have been able to relaunch ourselves from here in L.A., and our work contributes to the world economy and our communities of origin. We want interpretation to be recognized as a human right, not an optional service or luxury.

How does your WHY play a role in your mission, vision, and work you do in this world?

[My why is] to fight for the end of the linguistic violence that affects our communities. Support for the communities means enjoyment of their folklore and culture and respect for their human rights. Create space to make the existence of Indigenous communities visible, such as at a conference of Indigenous literature or the conference of interpreters, both events held. 

What is your vision for Latinas in your respective space, and how do you see supporting emerging Latinas who also want to make an impact like yourself?:

As a Zoogochense/Zapoteca woman, I would like more young women to work for the respect of human rights because the dispossession of our lands and traditions is becoming more and more recurrent. I would like Indigenous women to be bold and dare to advocate for the rights of Indigenous Peoples. I would like them to own their accomplishments and the spaces and power they create.

Follow Odilia Romero:

Instagram:

www.instagram.com/odilia_yego

TikTok:

www.tiktok.com/@yolozee

Website:

www.mycielo.org


About the Author

Chantelle Bacigalupo

Chantelle Bacigalupo is #WeAllGrow Latina’s Editorial Staff Writer. She is a Bolivian-American photographer, multimedia journalist, and activist based in Brooklyn, NY. Her work focuses on issues ranging across immigration, social & environmental justice, preserving Indigenous cultures, and reproductive justice. You can read more of her pieces here.

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