Adriana Flores Ragade
Producer and Host of Latinx America
Palo Alto, CA
Can you explain your identity?
I am Latina. A former ELL student. My parents were undocumented and naturalized after they were already in the United States. I am an immigrant. Born and raised in Mexico until I was twelve years old. I formed two identities, as a pre-teen in Mexico and then my life as an adult in the United States. I became an educator in equity and access issues, from college admissions to trying to increase success for the Latinx community through my podcast. In Mexico, I was a very good student, almost all 10s. My parents immigrated to improve our position. They would say, we can’t give you a lot of things but we can’t get you an education. They didn’t know what college was but my counselors in high school mentored me into learning the process. I live in Palo Alto with a 7 year old boy and a 10 year old girl, plus a wonderful husband.
What do you know about what happened in 1992 in Los Angeles?
I was living in Orange County and we had a field trip that day. I remember we drove up the freeway, we could see trees on fire and we eventually found out that the riots started. I was 17 years old. Similarly to what we are living right now, an injustice was committed and the system was not held responsible. Unfairness is a common theme. Twenty years later, we see the same injustices and the taking of lives. This is systemic institutional racism.
Are you familiar with Solidarity Economics?
No. As I understand it is when people of all backgrounds, people in all kinds of neighborhoods having access to education, health and opportunities to help them become the best they can be. Equitable economic systems allow people of all back- grounds to succeed and they help us achieve social mobility.
Could you identify who would be the Top and who would be the Bottom in Los Angeles using inspiration from the slogan, Tame the Top & Lift the Bottom?
In Palo Alto, we are an affluent city with extreme wealth and communities in des- perate need where the economic gap is getting wider with Covid-19. People in the Buena Vista area and low income housing need much better access. The venture capitalists and the entrepreneurs, tech giants live here. We are five minutes away from Stanford.
Focusing in on females in South LA, do you have experience with movements that call for women to generate wealth for other women?
Through my work with women in our school system. When Covid 19 hit, we had a group of moms in the PTA raise over $200,000, we were able to provide vouchers for transportation and groceries for other families to meet basic needs. They were just moms that wanted to protect their children and their community. In my work as a podcaster, I am connected to Latinas in Tech that is empowering women. Kapor Center does a lot of great work for Founders of Color to help women get more fund- ing. I interviewed Alicia Robb and she created a 1M early stage venture fund called Next Wave Impact. At the last Angel Capital Association she led a showcase for founders of color and was able to get some funding for the top pitches. It was very successful. On a scale of 1-10, I would place international female leadership at a 10 during this pandemic. In the United States, I think we would be at a 5. We don’t have very many female leaders. I voted for Warren and we hoped for Hillary as our next president a few years ago but I don’t think the rest of the country was ready yet.
Is there somebody in your life that is a contemporary woman that inspires you?
Juliana Garaizar is amazing. She is the lead investor for Portfolia Rising Fund. She leveraged her knowledge and connections and became a champion for women and minority led ventures.
Do you know what an Evidence Based Research Model is and why we use it?
Yes, to be able to come up with theories or programs that would have an impact on the population that you are trying to impact that are based on research. These models and strategies that have worked are very important.
Do you know what convening is and why we do it?
Yes, it is very strong and when you are able to bring together and mobilize an audi- ence so you can hopefully advocate and enact change.
How would you define wellness in the community?
Wellness goes beyond physical. Mental wellness is important and financial wellness is as well. People need access to opportunity. For a community to be considered well, you need to have all of these issues of prosperity accounted for. When you are traveling, you have a different mind-set but you only typically see the hotspots. My community has had issues with mental health wellness so I struggle to use them as an example. I can’t find decide on a zen place right now.
Do you have an opinion on whether food policy is interconnected to wellness?
Of course, this is why school districts have begun to provide breakfast as well as lunch. Our group of moms in our PTA thought food security was very important so that children can have access to foods. The superfood in my nutrition is protein, I would choose eggs. My food choices when I was 0-5 were very different to the food choices that I make today. I have developed love for different foods in my 20s and 30s. I think we all continue to make new choices for ourselves as we get older.