Graduation season is well on its way and once again, Latinas are stepping up to the stage to prove once again that great success can be achieved by anyone who puts the work in. From ones embracing their parents’ immigration stories to others celebrating their parents for their own hard work, there’s no doubt Latinas know how vital their parents are to motivating them to reach for brighter, more informed futures. Recently, one Latina grad crossed the stage towards a future twice as radiant and positive then she might have guessed 12 years ago.
A mom and daughter both graduated from the William Paterson University in New Jersey.
The duo — Sandra Murillo a 46-year-old single mom to Katherinn Lopez-Murillo, 25 — graduated in 2019 class with degrees in public health and criminology, respectively.
Sandra first came to the U.S. from Colombia in 1996 but had to leave her then 2-year-old daughter, Katherinn, behind due to a custody battle.
Sandra said she arrived in the U.S. with $1,000, a suitcase, and didn’t know anyone.
“I just came here with hope that life would be easier…I never thought that coming here, I’d encounter so many challenges,” Sandra said to her university publication. “I was so alone, and I was so discouraged, and I felt like it was going to take me 20 years to graduate.”
In 2006, when Katherinn was 12-years-old, she was finally able to join her mom in the U.S.
Her mom instilled in her from day one that education would be her key to success.
“Unless I was sick, or something terrible was happening, I was going to school,” Katherinn told NBC News. “She told me if you don’t educate yourself, life is going to be so much harder for you.”
Both women enrolled at the school and now plan to relocate to Florida for new job opportunities.
“People like us,” Sandra said to her school publication about the struggles of immigrants, “we need to study, or we’ll never get ahead in life. We women especially, we have to be empowered. If you have money and no needs, you probably won’t want to go to school as an adult while working full time, because it’s hard; it’s very hard. But when you want to do it, and when you come to the end – when you finish and accomplish that goal – you have no idea how it feels. “I am so grateful. I thank God every day for giving me the strength, and for giving me this wonderful daughter who was there with me through the hard times, and for making this more special because she’s graduating with me.”
Together Bricia and Paulina Lopez have managed to build quite the local empire. The two jefas have built LA treasures like La Guelaguetza and I Love Micheladas, brands that were created out of an adoration for Mexican culture and a desire to serve Latinos. They’re also the founders behind Super Mamás, a weekly podcast that allowed women of color an opportunity to hear themselves. Through the podcast, the two sisters work to inspire women and give them tips on how to launch their own businesses, brands, and visions. They also encourage self-love and self-care. Their ultimate goal was to give mothers a community, a place to know that they aren’t alone.
It’s part of what also inspired them to create an event that was an extension of the podcast for their listeners. Super Mamás Social is an annual live recording of the podcast that brings mothers together to learn more about their businesses interests and be social.
This past Saturday marked the social’s fourth year and the blowout was muy muy exciting!
The event included a live taping of the Super Mamás Podcast and featured who shared their own powerful stories on the podcast before. This year’s attendees included Liz Hernandez of Wordaful, artist Melanie Fiona and Emmy Award Winning Televisión host Myrka Dellanos.
The event had so many opportunities for moms to relax and focus on themselves.
The chicas behind Super Mamás paired up with Macy’s and Clarins to create an actual GLOW ZONE teepee at their social. The tent allowed guests to re-examine their skin care regimen with professionals, receive make-up touch-ups, and fragrance matches.
Of course, Super Mamás had the happiest of meals for the happy day.
To celebrate the Mother’s Day weekend, Mc Donald’s Flower Mart provided all kinds of goodies, including Happy Meals for kids.
It also gave us a chance to network with and receive advice from The Most Jefas of Jefas.
Liz Hernandez, founder of Wordaful and radio and television personality behind some of the biggest entertainment radio and news programs in the business, was there and she SHOWED UP. Hernandez talked with Bricia and Paulina about the word reflection and so many of us walked away not only feeling a little bit wiser, but more empowered and capable too.
And like a true Super Mamás fan, Guacardo showed up too!
And spoiler alert! He loved it too!
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