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New virtual community aims to shatter stereotypes one Latina at a time

LatinaLista — Whenever the media reports on a successful Latina, the news is treated like a rare celestial event. The truth is there are many more accomplished Latinas that never get recognized and who have totally bucked the negative Latina stereotype too often reported in the media.


But there is a big problem — too few of the media, and most importantly, Latinas don’t know about all these different successful women who are today’s trailblazers. That’s where Escúchame comes in.

The new online organization is both a community for Latinas to get to know who among us are already on their way to accomplishing their goals and it’s a starting place for successful Latinas to create a foundation to make themselves more widely known to not just Latino communities but mainstream media and organizations.

With the tagline “breaking stereotypes, one Latina at a time,” Escúchame is a forum where Latinas share their expertise at an international level.

The concept was created by the North Carolina-based Latina mother-daughter engineering duo Deborah Aguiar-Vélez and Raquel D. Vélez.

“The inspiration for Escúchame came in 2009, during my first week of the National Hispana Leadership Institute Program,” said Aguiar-Vélez. “A group of Latina sisters struggled to tell their life experiences. Over the din of stories, women from all walks of life shouted, “¡Escúchame!” – “Listen to me!”

Aguiar-Vélez listened and realized that Latinas needed a special forum to that didn’t just serve as a support network but supported the aspirations and accomplishments of Latinas.

At the site, Latinas choose from two types of membership: the Community Membership is free and gives members access to the whole site — watching videos, reading blog posts, shopping, networking and collaborating with other community members.

The second type of membership is fee-based and garners the title “Featured Expert.” As a Featured Expert, Latinas must meet certain criteria that will put them on the roster for the site’s speaker’s bureau, allow them to post videos, sell their products to the Escúchame community-at-large and get promoted by the site.

We believe that we are in the midst of a Latina Renaissance. Speakers, inventors, entrepreneurs; engineers, artists, wise grandmothers, writers; doctors, lawyers, politicians – Latinas are breaking through every realm of society, and yet they seem to have blended into the background. 

It is time for their voices to be heard, for them to connect and interact with each other, and engage society with their expertise.

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