Forty years ago, Arlene Vigil Kramer and other Latina leaders launched Adelante Mujer. Together, leaders like Kramer, Alicia Cuaron, Patricia Barela Rivera, Deborah Vela, Dora Gonzalez and Doloroes Martinez have strived to make Adelante Mujer what it is today – an organization that aims to assist young Latinas in a competitive workforce.
In 1979, Adelante Mujer was created, a nonprofit organization that works to assist struggling Latina women to gain entry and succeed in education, employment and economic systems. The organization wants to make sure that women in it keep to their cultural roots. This year, Adelante Mujer is celebrating 40 years of impacting Latina women.
“(Latinas) started at the bottom of any job opportunity they had because of educational deficiencies. Our whole idea was to get Latinas to graduate, go onto college and be able to move into leadership positions that they wanted,” said Kramer, who used to teach at what is now Metropolitan State University of Denver.
In the late 1970s, Adelante Mujer began scanning out leaders in the community to know everybody and who’s who, Kramer explained.
“We built a strong base and planned for the Latina Adelante Mujer conferences,” said Kramer.
In 1980, the organization hosted its first Latina Adelante Mujer conference in which it focused on work place development and leadership development for Latinas. After years of hosting its conferences, raising money and eventually becoming a registered Colorado organization, Adelante Mujer took a step back to reassess what it could do to better help the community.
The organization discovered that a significantly high number of Latinos were not graduating from high school.
“We all said, oh my god. We have to do something about that,” said Kramer. “Our goal is to graduate every Latina student and to get prepared to go on for secondary community colleges and universities.”
Today, Adelante Mujer offers three programs – its LaTEENAaConference, the LaTEENa College and Alumni Symposium and its Summer Leadership Program.
The LaTEENa Conference is held each year at Regis University. It gives Latina high school students a chance to focus on critical skills needed to graduate. The LaTEENa Alumni and College Students Leadership Symposium is orchestrated by Dr. Lisa Garza. It is meant to help students reach the next level to be prepared for college success. It also helps participants learn about careers that fit their talents, skills and interests.
The LaTEENa Alumni Leadership Program is for students who have already attended a LaTEENA conference. Students better their communication and writing skills, interview a professional Latina from numerous careers and write about their experience.
This year, Adelante Mujer is celebrating its 40th anniversary at Regis University on Oct. 5 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information about the organization, visit adelantemujer.org.
“(The 40th anniversary) has been an achievement of what’s needed to happen, and Latinas said yes, we’re going to take care of ourselves, because no one else is going to take care of us,” said Kramer.
La Voz is a proud sponsor.