Spotlight Story

21 February 2024

Veronica Delgado: Rising Above Adversity to Empower Latino Voices in Government

Category: Spotlight Story

Resilience, commitment, and the power of personal experience are some of the adjectives that describe Verónica Delgado’s journey into advocacy work. Born and raised in Nicaragua, Veronica moved to the United States in her childhood alongside her mother facing significant challenges upon arrival. Language barriers and an unfair system that provided very little support for a single mother were a few hurdles they encountered. Veronica's passion for advocacy stems from her own lived experiences and witnessing the struggles of her community, especially in Maryland where she grew up. She realized the need for representation from individuals who have lived through challenges, emphasizing the importance of strategic advocacy.

“Another thing that shaped my sense of community was moving a lot. I went to seven different schools, and in every community I was part of, I was able to learn something—whether it was about their struggles, their personal stories, or their success stories. Each time I moved from one school to another, I met new people and discovered new sources of motivation from stories of resilience in our community. Getting to see what life is like for our Latino communities, understanding the challenges and the resilience, became the backbone of my career while growing up."

Driven by this experience, she pursued a bachelor's degree in political science with a minor in practical policy and politics, transferring from Montgomery College to the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Despite the challenges, she actively participated in political science honor societies and worked full-time to support herself and her mother. Currently pursuing a graduate degree in international relations at American University, Veronica is living her dream, and set to complete her studies next year.

As a Government Affairs Manager at Hispanic Access Foundation, Veronica strategically identifies opportunities to amplify the Latino community's voice in influential spaces. Although she’s been in the organization for less than 6 months, she has been able to lead the way to increase the representation of Latino voices in important forums. Having Maite Arce, Hispanic Access Foundation’s founder, participate in a Congressional Hispanic Caucus roundtable on healthcare and representing the Latino community at the Department of Commerce Interagency convening on equitable economic growth are some of the achievements she has led in her tenure.

Veronica received the “Most Dedicated Award” for the last quarter of 2023, a recognition given by the organization over the past month. Reflecting on leadership, she emphasizes the importance of devotion, love, and turning passion into action. Above her desk, a graphic read, “What is done in love is done well,” serving as a constant reminder of the genuine commitment required for effective leadership.

“I'm blessed and honored to have won that because honestly, I'm surrounded by so many amazing and dedicated individuals that I didn't see it coming.”

Some of the plans she’s looking forward to this year are strategizing and making sure they execute on Latino Advocacy Week. She has already confirmed meetings with members of Congress, the White House, and different agencies.

“We are looking forward to allowing our networks to come together, and receive advocacy skills from us in different areas. We have quite a list of advocacy training for them, so they are prepared and ready to be in these influential spaces to advocate and serve as that voice for the Latino community.”

Veronica’s journey is not just a personal success story but an example of the transformative power of lived and shared experiences in advocacy. As she continues to navigate influential spaces, her leadership exemplifies a genuine devotion to the causes she serves, rooted in empathy and a commitment to making a positive impact on the Latino community.

“Reflecting on my journey, I’ve come to realize that each experience was essential in preparing me to support and advocate for others effectively. Growing up, there was this saying at home: if you want something done right, better do it yourself. Witnessing the disconnect in our community—where voices claiming to represent us miss the essence of our struggles—highlighted my sense of responsibility. It became apparent that I had to step forward, to advocate for authentic representation.

This realization guided my educational path and brought me to where I stand today. Witnessing the true needs and remarkable resilience of our people has deeply influenced me. It’s this intimate understanding and connection to our community’s challenges and strengths that fuel my advocacy. My work is personal; it’s grounded in my reality and driven by a desire to make a tangible difference for those sharing similar experiences. It’s about honoring the enduring spirit and resilience of our Latino community, striving to effect real change so all can thrive."

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