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Interform presents 'Latina's Corner' open forum event in Springdale

The goal of this event was to help create a safe space in the Hispanic/Latino community to openly discuss topics that are impacting their community the most.

SPRINGDALE, Ark. — In July, 5NEWS reported on the open forum event called Black Girls Talk, which brought women together to discuss current events and how they affect minorities specifically. 

The event Latina’s Corner held on Thursday, Oct. 20, was inspired by the success of Black Girls Talk.

"Honestly women are looking for places to be accepted, places to be able to talk about shared experiences and we thought 'hey we have a big Hispanic culture in Northwest Arkansas so why not open up a whole segment for them,'" said organizers Liz Velazzo & Berenice Alcala.

According to the Northwest Arkansas Council, Hispanics and Latinos represent 17% of the total population in our region. With the upcoming election, organizers of this forum want to use their resources to bridge the gap.

"Our population here in the Latino community is significantly growing and especially people who are eligible to vote," Alcala said. "We have an election coming up on November 8 and at interform were campaigning around being the model citizen and so we do want to incorporate all of our resources."

The forum discussed topics of the challenges Hispanics and Latinos face including mental health, stressors of the workplace and what it’s like being a first-generation immigrant.

"Having a group of women that can help you discuss that is so essential because you need to be confident in who you are as a whole person and being Latina a part of who I am," Samantha Varela said.  

Varela is a food scientist and says she’s the only female Latina at her job. She says this discussion will help her navigate being a minority in her field of work.

"The main reason I came was to get a good discussion about what it means to be a Latina in the workplace, having to deal with some examples of toxic masculinity in everyday life. I want to set my boundaries and excel in that role."

This discussion is open to everyone in the community who is seeking connection, empathy, empowerment, and support. Moving forward the group has plans to meet on a monthly basis to discuss other important topics. 

“To bring awareness to our culture and to the topics were talking about because at the end of the day we are one community, we’re all coexisting and I think it’s important to be able to step into each other’s world and this is definitely the opportunity to do that," Alcala said. 

RELATED: Local nonprofit hosts 'Black Girls Talk' event in Springdale

OTHER STORIES: Latino-owned businesses in Northwest Arkansas bring loved ones together with pan y café

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