College Success Student Hosts His First National Workshops
by Carla Juarez, Development Assistant
An advocate for social justice, Leo Cuevas Ramos is a proud HOLA alumnus with a passion for helping and uplifting his community. Leo attends Mills College, where he founded two clubs, Queers of Color Alliance and Transgender Gender Non-Conforming (TGNC) Alliance. With his work at Somos Familia - an Oakland based nonprofit that supports Latinx parents with queer and transgender children - Leo has hosted several workshops at schools and fairs on the difficulty of coming out and transitioning that bring awareness to the Latinx first-generation, queer, undocumented, transgender experience.
This January, Leo was invited to join Somos Familia at the National LGBTQ Task Force conference entitled Creating Change in Detroit, Michigan. Through one of HOLA’s amazing community partners, he had the opportunity to attend and present for the first time at a national conference. Leo was so excited to have a wider and more diverse audience to amplify his message of social justice and Latinx awareness. He tells us more about what he learned and hopes to achieve after this experience.
I had the amazing opportunity to attend Creating Change this year. This was my first conference ever! During my four days at the conference, I had an amazing time, with the opportunity to host three workshops, but most importantly, I learned so much.
The first workshop that I facilitated was through the Latinx Institute, called “Cuando No Hay Palabras | When There are No Words” (in collaboration with “Coming Out from A Mother’s Perspective/ Salir del Closet”). I shared my story to more than fifty people in the room. It felt amazing to share my work, as well as learn [about] the work that the other participants of [the] Latinx Institute are doing collaboratively or individually.
The second workshop that I facilitated was a Latinx TGNC workshop, in which a colleague and I shared resources provided to TGNC folks. We also talked about the lack of awareness of HIV in our community and what can be done to inform folks.
My last workshop was about social media in the LGBTQ Latinx community. I presented a short animated series that I helped to create. I was happy to receive positive feedback and share the same appreciation.
Through these workshops, I was able to network with diverse folks and create a strong relationship. I was able to attend workshops that helped my professional growth, such as “You Got A Grant, What's Next?” or “How To Implement A Safe Zone In Your School.” I enjoyed learning and hearing the different changes people hope to bring to their organization and school. I mostly enjoyed learning about the struggles that trans latinas have faced and how they’re overcoming obstacles in places where there is a lack of resources. And lastly, the conference helped me learn about the different organizations in California. I’m really thankful to have been given the opportunity to attend Creating Change.
HOLA feels grateful and proud of Leo for embarking on a life-long journey of social activism, giving back to his community, and serving as a role model for LGBTQ students and families while away from home. We hope to nurture in all HOLA students that genuine passion to uplift their communities and grow as outspoken leaders.
March 13, 2019