Women Who Stand: Yashira Rodriguez+Share
Yashira Rodriguez is a community activist in Phoenix, Arizona. She has started classes on self-esteem and work skills for immigrant women, hosted a radio show about local politics and education, and volunteers as a parent educator with Stand University for Parents. She has three boys.
You are very involved in your community: you started a radio show, you volunteer as a parent educator with Stand for Children, you hold free classes for women … what motivates you to be so involved?
It has been a ten year process for me.
When I got married, I started meeting a lot of women who were new to the U.S.. A lot of them were depressed: they didn’t have friends, they didn’t speak the language, they didn’t do anything… So I started reading self-esteem books and research on how immigrants adapt to new countries. Every Tuesday I would meet these women at my house and I would prepare a class. I started doing that with 3 women and at the end of 3 months we were 98 women.
By meeting these women, it was impossible not get involved.
Then I was listening to the radio and I was hearing all these lies about loans, about education, about everything. So some friends and I started a radio show to provide real information to the community.
Of all of these projects, what is the one that you feel has made the largest impact?
I think that what I am doing right with Stand [volunteering as a parent educator with Stand University for Parents] has the biggest impact, because I believe that, above all else, we need to give mothers and fathers education. And Stand is the right organization to be doing this because it’s on education and on politics, which is what really matters.
The question: “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?” seems to apply to you: you are willing to try new things to better your community. What advice do you have for people who want to improve their communities but might be afraid to start?
This morning a woman called and asked me for advice. She wants to take action, and make some money, but she is afraid. I asked her to think about one question: “What do you like to do?” Because if you love what you do, the money doesn’t matter.
I think she was afraid because she was not following her passion in life. But if you are taking into consideration what you love to do, you won’t be afraid.
Who are your role models and mentors?
I love Dr. Wayne Dyer [a self-help author]. I read all of his books. And Mother Theresa. And I admire my husband. He’s my best friend, he’s such a smart guy and he’s so calm. Sometimes I wish I could be just like him.
You have 3 sons. What are your hopes and dreams for them?
I want them to be happy. I want them to be free of our judgment and competition with others. I want all three of them to go to university and to do whatever they want to do.