LATINAS LEADING THE WAY

REPRESENT the future

OUR MISSION
It is the mission of Latina Leaders of Kern County to foster leadership, to identify and develop opportunities for Latinas, and to influence key issues affecting our community.

PHILOSOPHY
It is our philosophy to be committed, open minded, and inclusive.

KEY MESSAGE
“Building a Stronger Community, One Leader at a Time.”

ABOUT THE PROGRAM

The Latina Leading the Way Awards and Dinner Banquet is LLKC’s annual fundraising event that honors three local outstanding Latina professionals in Kern County. Latinas Leading the Way also salutes their Youth Leadership Program high school Latinas during this event.This major fundraiser supports our youth program, and other activities targeted to professional Latinas in our community. The women honored with the awards are selected for their exceptional professionalism, achievements and commitment to our community.

LLKC Objective/Goal: To highlight the achievements of local Latinas and build acknowledgement of their contributions to Kern County. The event is expected to raise as many funds as possible for the annual Youth Leadership Program (the cornerstone program of LLKC).

Latina’s Leading the Way 2023 Honorees

BIOGRAPHY

ROSA LOPEZ

Rosa Lopez is a Senior Policy Advocate and Organizer at the ACLU of Southern California, in the Bakersfield office, where she advocates to protect our constitutional rights. 

As a first-generation indigenous immigrant from Oaxaca, Rosa has devoted herself to working with marginalized communities to promote social and racial justice. Prior to joining the ACLU in 2018, Rosa was a Career Pathway Specialist with the statewide John Muir Charter Schools, where she developed and managed programs aimed at re-engaging young adults in education and on a pathway to lifelong and sustainable careers. 

Rosa served in the Peace Corps as a Youth and Family Development promoter in the Dominican Republic, where she worked with Dominican and Haitian communities, developed and implemented youth empowerment programs. She worked with a non-profit community-based organization to implement a leadership training program which increased the organization’s volunteer capacity and brought in national and international campaigns. In her third year of service, Rosa worked with the Ministry of Youth and Education to expand the ministry’s services into rural communities, she successfully engaged youth from rural communities on government boards and connected them to educational and entrepreneurial scholarships. Some of the youth she worked with have traveled to the US and Europe for educational and professional development opportunities. 

Rosa spent her first 9 years in San Juan Mixtepec, an indigenous community, northwest of Oaxaca, Mexico. She grew up with her maternal grandmother, while her parents followed the crops in California. When Rosa reunited with her parents and siblings they settled in Weedpatch (a community outside of Lamont). Rosa did not speak Spanish or English, when she migrated to California, but that didn’t stop her from graduating from Arvin High School, earning her B.A. in Latin American Latino Students and Politics from UC Santa Cruz, and her Master’s of Public Administration from CSUB. 

After graduating from UC Santa Cruz, Rosa moved to Bakersfield and worked at Greater Bakersfield Legal Assistance as an advocate and paralegal, working with farmworkers and victims of crime. In addition to joining the workforce, Rosa became an active member of the community, volunteering on various campaigns with local non-profit organizations including the Dolores Huerta Foundation, the United Farms Workers Union, Building Healthy Communities and her indigenous community. 

Since moving back to Bakersfield in 2018, Rosa has continued to stay active. She co-founded the Rapid Response Network of Kern and the Kern County Criminal Justice Coalition, aimed at engaging the community and building leaders to create the change they want to see in their neighborhoods. She is also a member of several community groups, including the Community Advisory Council for both the BPD and KCSO and Care First Kern. 

In addition to her professional and community engagement, Rosa enjoys traveling with her 8-year old daughter, Natalie (they just returned from the caribbeans yesterday), and relaxing with a good movie or book.

BIOGRAPHY

CLAUDIA LOPEZ

Claudia is a Staff Attorney at the United Farm Worker Foundation under the Community Colleges Project. There she provides free immigration legal services to students, faculty and staff at five local community colleges. Prior to joining the UFW Foundation, Claudia worked at Greater Bakersfield Legal Assistance, Inc., providing comprehensive legal services to immigrant survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault in Kern County. Claudia attended Claremont McKenna College where she majored in Government and Chicana/o Studies and earned her law degree from USC Gould School of Law. Claudia also recently became a Certified Yoga Instructor after completing her Yoga Teacher Training at The Tree Yoga Cooperative in Los Angeles. 

Claudia is a proud Xicana feminist and strongly advocates for the liberation of all oppressed beings. Her parents’ struggle as immigrants and her own life as a woman of color have shaped her perspective on living within the occupied land now known as the United States.  

Outside of her legal career, Claudia volunteers with Kern Welcoming and Extending Solidarity to Immigrants, Latina Leaders of Kern County, the Kern County Library, and Bakersfield Food Not Bombs. She is a staunch vegan and wholly believes in the rights of animals, the preservation of our natural world, and stands in solidarity with all movements for justice and dignity.

BIOGRAPHY

MANPREET KAUR

Born and raised in Ward 7, Manpreet Kaur is proud to call Bakersfield her hometown.  Her parents immigrated to the United States from Punjab, India. She was born at Kern Medical and attended GreenField and Panama Buena Vista Union School Districts. Manpreet graduated from Ridgeview High School where she was Student Body President, and member of the basketball, track, and cross-country teams. She was also a member of Ford Dimension DreamBuilders and Latina Leaders of Kern County. After high school, Manpreet went on to obtain her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and minor in Law and Society from UC San Diego. Last yrar, Manpreet earned 2 Master’s degrees from the University of Wisconsin- Madison, one in Urban and Regional Planning and one in Public Affairs.  As a Maddie Institute Fellow, she was awarded a full ride scholarship by the Wonderful Company for her studies.

In 2016, Manpreet founded the Jakara Movement of Kern County, a nonprofit organization working largely in the Punjabi community focused on youth development, substance abuse prevention, access to housing, and health care. She spearheaded the Khair Initiative which addresses the dangers of Fentanyl use and assists with Narcan training.

Manpreet was appointed to serve on the Keep Bakersfield Beautiful Committee and appointed by the Kern County Board of Supervisors to serve on the Early Childhood Council of Kern. She has also served on the KERO Channel 23 Community Advisory Committee, and Kern Complete Count Committee (Census 2020). While in Graduate School, Manpreet also served on the Wisconsin Student Planning Association. A few years back, Manpreet was honored to be awarded Bakersfield Life Magazine’s 20 under 40 People to watch.

 

In November 2022, Manpreet was the first Sikh Punjabi woman to be elected to the City Council. Manpreet is the Chair of the City’s Planning and Development Development Subcommittee. Manpreet is also a Program Manager in Corporate Social Responsibility at The Wonderful Company. 

 

BIOGRAPHY

JUDGE ELIZABT RODRIGUEZ

Born and raised in Ward 7, Manpreet Kaur is proud to call Bakersfield her hometown.  Her parents immigrated to the United States from Punjab, India. She was born at Kern Medical and attended GreenField and Panama Buena Vista Union School Districts. Manpreet graduated from Ridgeview High School where she was Student Body President, and member of the basketball, track, and cross-country teams. She was also a member of Ford Dimension DreamBuilders and Latina Leaders of Kern County. After high school, Manpreet went on to obtain her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and minor in Law and Society from UC San Diego. Last yrar, Manpreet earned 2 Master’s degrees from the University of Wisconsin- Madison, one in Urban and Regional Planning and one in Public Affairs.  As a Maddie Institute Fellow, she was awarded a full ride scholarship by the Wonderful Company for her studies.

In 2016, Manpreet founded the Jakara Movement of Kern County, a nonprofit organization working largely in the Punjabi community focused on youth development, substance abuse prevention, access to housing, and health care. She spearheaded the Khair Initiative which addresses the dangers of Fentanyl use and assists with Narcan training.

Manpreet was appointed to serve on the Keep Bakersfield Beautiful Committee and appointed by the Kern County Board of Supervisors to serve on the Early Childhood Council of Kern. She has also served on the KERO Channel 23 Community Advisory Committee, and Kern Complete Count Committee (Census 2020). While in Graduate School, Manpreet also served on the Wisconsin Student Planning Association. A few years back, Manpreet was honored to be awarded Bakersfield Life Magazine’s 20 under 40 People to watch.

 

In November 2022, Manpreet was the first Sikh Punjabi woman to be elected to the City Council. Manpreet is the Chair of the City’s Planning and Development Development Subcommittee. Manpreet is also a Program Manager in Corporate Social Responsibility at The Wonderful Company. 

 

Latina’s Leading the Way 2022 Honorees

Last year we recognized three professional women who are making a difference  in our community. Our Honorees represent the true essence of our organization’s mission. We are honored to award the following women:

Latina’s Leading the Way PAST Honorees

  • 2019: Claudia Catota, Teresa Romero, Beatriz Trejo
  • 2018: Beatris Espericueta, Sonia Rodriguez, Lillian Tafoya

 

 

  • 2017:  Xochitl Garcia, Gabriela Murguia, Racquel Pina
  • 2016:  Isabel Bravo, Gabriela Mello, Lourdes Nilon
  • 2015:  Camila Chavez, Sylvia Picazo, Lisa Kent
  • 2014:   Natasha Felkins, Nora Dominguez, Felisa Patino
  • 2013:   Linda Quiñonez-Vaughn
  • 2012:   Aida Molina, Connie Perez, Leticia Perez, Lucy Zarate, Norma Diaz
  • 2011:   Denise Ornelas, Maria Reyes, Sarah Ketchum
  • 2010:   Kathryn Lomely, Mary Amelia Cavazos Reyna, Ramona Herrera
  • 2009:  Christina Lizardi Frazier; Laura Arredondo, Rosemary Wahl

BECOME PART OF THE BIGGER PICTURE AND Say Hello!

We love hearing from our community and answer any questions you may have about our programs, membership, sponsorship opportunities and more!

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